🌍 A running list of Climate Tech VCs

Highlighting the top VCs investing in climate tech

Happy Monday! 

We hope your gravy boat was bountiful and turkeys plump (but not too plump). We’re grateful for you making space in your inbox for CTVC this year.  

Here’s a special issue to share our gratitude, inspired by our reflections of how much the ecosystem has boomed this past wacky year - this is a rundown of investors across the climate tech space, as well as some overview of what we’ve seen. 

Thanks for being a part of this and supporting us with your time and consideration. Let us know what you think (and most importantly, what we’ve missed!). We’ll be back next week with a full issue.

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The cleantech boom and bust of the late 2000s sent many entrepreneurs and investors packing for the relative safety of enterprise SaaS venturing. A decade plus later, with $16b invested in the space in 2019 alone, investors clearly have renewed interest in ‘climate tech’ - encapsulating not only energy (i.e. storage, biofuels, and renewables) but also agriculture, transportation, and manufacturing which have the potential to reduce emissions. 

A few things are different this time. All of which are bolstered by waves of highly qualified talent lending their experience from other industries and functions to the climate challenge as they seek to align their values with their paycheck. 

  • Investors (staffed to diligence technical risk, structured for longer development timelines)

  • Corporates (public support, willingness to fund First Of A Kind projects)

  • Consumers (broad recognition of the climate crisis, sustainable behavioral change)

  • Technology (renewables becoming mature and cost-competitive, science and research costs mostly covered by government)

The word is out. At the start of 2020 (and what a year it has been since), Sequoia Capital, infamous for investments such as Apple, Google, and LinkedIn, put out a public call for climate and sustainability investments. Chamath Palihapitiya, of Social Capital and recent SPAC fanatic, predicted that “the world’s first trillionaire will be somebody in climate change”, and promised to invest “a few $B into [decarbonization, sustainability, and climate change” - and asked the world to help him. Meanwhile Tesla’s stock has skyrocketed over 550% since January, Bezos has started gifting the $100b from his Earth Fund, the Biden Administration counts climate amongst its top priorities, and America’s tech giants have almost all announced carbon neutrality. 

Every sector of the global economy needs to transform to be climate neutral over just two business cycles. Accordingly, investment in climate tech has outpaced the overall venture market 5 to 1, and attracted a diverse set of investors to the green rush. We’ve been tracking deals, interviewing investors and entrepreneurs, and reporting on hot verticals. Over that time, we’ve seen 5 major categories of (private, non-strategic, venture stage) climate tech investors: 

Climate-general: Investing in climate change as the primary thesis

Climate-vertical specific: Investing in a specific vertical (e.g., agriculture, energy) within the broader climate tech ecosystem

Impact: Investing for impact with a focus on sustainability

Deeptech: Investing in frontier, hard science technologies to address climate

Generalist: Investing mostly in enterprise / consumer software, with some opportunistic climate investments

The list below has been edited for length, so be sure to check out our website for the complete list.

See the full list

Climate-general

  • Breakthrough Energy Ventures: Coalition of investors including Bill Gates investing in technologies with the potential to reduce at least half a gigaton of GHG emissions (Portco Form Energy is developing long duration energy storage systems)

  • Buoyant Ventures: Investing in digital solutions for climate risk (Portco Raptor Maps builds drone software to digitize and monitor solar assets)

  • Congruent Ventures: Creating companies that will positively impact how we move, create, eat, and live (Portco Camus Energy builds software for grid operators)

  • Ecosystem Integrity Fund: Targets companies contributing to environmental sustainability (Portco EVconnect provides 1,000 electric vehicle charging sites)

  • G2VP: Fund spun out of Kleiner Perkins Green Growth Fund (Portco Proterra designs and manufactures zero-emission electric buses)

  • Generation Investment Management: Investment firm founded by Al Gore and David Blood focusing on long-term sustainable investing (Portco Nature’s Fynd produces a protein from microbes found in geothermal springs)

  • Lowercarbon Capital: Investment fund founded by Chris Sacca (Lowercase Capital) for Planet-healing technologies and research (Portco Pachama verifies carbon offsetting projects such as forest reforestation through drones)

  • Prelude Ventures: Investing in the low-carbon economy (Portco Trove powers retail resale for brands such as Patagonia)

  • Prime Coalition: Partnering with philanthropists to provide catalytic climate capital (Portco Sublime Systems is decarbonizing cement-making)

  • Westly Group: Invests in leading and high growth companies to accelerate the clean technology revolution (Portco Weave Grid provides an EV-grid integration platform) 

Climate-vertical specific

  • AgFunder: Investing in technologies to rapidly transform our food and agriculture system (Portco MycoWorks produces high quality leather alternatives from mycelium)

  • Blackhorn Ventures: Investing in companies that are redefining industrial resource efficiency (Portco Climate AI builds climate analytical tools for agriculture and energy)

  • Clean Energy Ventures: Investing in early stage clean energy innovations (Portco SparkMeter provides low-cost metering solutions for rural micro-grids to urban central grid utilities)

  • Energize Ventures: Partner with entrepreneurs to advance the next generation of energy and industry (Portco Jupiter Intelligence predicts and manages climate-driven risks)

  • Energy Impact Partners: Investing in companies shaping the energy future by partnering with utilities (Portco Arcadia Power is a “digital power utility” providing clean energy and savings)

  • OGCI Climate Investments: Coalition of O&G majors investing in a lower carbon future (Portco Boston Metal uses its MOE process to decarbonize metals production)

  • Powerhouse Ventures: Backing entrepreneurs building the future of energy and mobility (Portco Energetic Insurance uses a data-driven approach to underwrite renewable energy projects)

  • S2G Ventures: Backing entrepreneurs working to disrupt the food system across the supply chain (Portco AppHarvest builds vertical farms in Appalachia)

  • Unovis (prev. New Crop Capital): Investing in the alternative protein sector (Portco Zero Egg makes plant-based eggs)

Impact

  • Better Ventures: Backing founders on a mission to build a better world (Portco Ride Report helps cities integrate new forms of micromobility)

  • Collaborative Fund: A leading source of capital for entrepreneurs pushing the world forward (Portco Quaise Energy unlocks geothermal energy through deep drilling technology)

  • DBL Investors: Invest in companies that deliver top-tier returns and enable social, environmental and economic benefits (Portco Advanced Microgrid Solutions installs energy storage services in buildings)

  • Emergence Industries: Coalition backing technology companies aligned with the UN SDGs (Portco Terracycle recycles non-recyclable waste into various consumer products)

  • Obvious Ventures: Supporting purpose-driven entrepreneurs across three investment pillars: Sustainable Systems, Healthy Living, and People Power (Portco Beyond Meat is a global leader in developing plant proteins)

  • SJF Ventures: Investing in high-growth companies creating a healthier, smarter, and cleaner future (Portco Voltaiq offers a battery intelligence analytics platform)

Deeptech 

  • Activate Capital: Invest in transformative technologies to build a more intelligent, efficient, and sustainable industrial future (Portco Stem combines big data, predictive analytics, and energy storage to reduce electrical costs)

  • Data Collective VC: Backing brilliant Deep Tech teams solving the world’s hardest problems (Portco Planet collects information about our changing planet via a fleet of Earth-imaging satellites)

  • The Engine: MIT-launched fund investing in Tough Tech companies (Portco Via Separations develops a separation membrane which generates industrial energy savings)

  • Fifty Years: Backing founders using technology to solve the world’s biggest problems (Portco Memphis Meats develops meat produced from animal stem cells)

  • Lux Capital: Investing in people inventing the future (Portco Shiru leverages computational design to create enhanced proteins that feed the world sustainably)

  • Pangaea Ventures: Investing in entrepreneurs solving the world’s most fundamental problems with advanced materials (Portco CarbonCure recycles CO2 into concrete)

Generalist 


We’ll continue to update this list (add new players and ones that we missed, remove those who deprioritize climate, and expand to further segments like corporate VCs and asset classes like project finance) as the market continues to evolve. If you have a suggestion, feel free to let us know

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