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There’s a growing need for new sustainable technologies that can support the U.S. and China’s goals to cut back carbon emissions by 2025. These “Cleantech” initiatives work to reduce negative environmental impact through improvements in energy efficiency and sustainable use of resources. And the Cleantech industry is booming thanks to the help of these green venture capital (“green VC”) firms. In 2018, investments in clean energy exceeded $300 billion, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report released in January.
In April 2019, TechCrunch noted an increase in green business deals alongside growing concerns about the climate. The article observed that some of the largest businesses in food and agriculture are investing in startups developing protein replacements as well as innovative farming technologies. More big utility companies, meanwhile, are backing smarter grid technologies, and big auto manufacturers are investing in new energy storage and battery technologies. Other investors are funding new construction tactics for energy efficient homes and cities, and even getting behind specially-engineered technologies that could remove carbon from the Earth’s atmosphere.
From agriculture and bioproducts to energy efficiency, smart grid and energy storage, solar energy, transportation, water and waste management, wind and geothermal, and other renewables, sustainability-driven initiatives like these are exactly what today’s key stakeholders and shareholders are looking for in a return on their investments.
There are so many smart green VC firms across the U.S. and in Europe that back sustainable startups with a positive environmental impact.
Here are five of them.
Kleiner Perkins (Menlo Park, Calif.)
The global green startup conference ECOSUMMIT calls Kleiner Perkins one of the top VCs in the world. Founded in 1972, their current green portfolio includes Opower (IPO), Silver Spring Networks (IPO), Relayr, Enlighted, Orcan Energy, and Elcore. Kleiner Perkins’ mission statement is to serve humanity through people, technology, and capital, and work with founders and CEOs who share those values.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures (U.S and E.U.)
This billion dollar firm funded by Bill Gates and other prominent high net-worth investors backs early stage startups with new technologies that support a transition to a 100 percent renewable energy system. To meet its goal of a carbon-neutral future, BEV addresses carbon emissions in five key areas: electricity, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, and buildings.
BP Ventures (U.S. and E.U.)
BP Ventures was founded more than a decade ago to invest in new energy technologies. It recognizes that in a world that continues to demand more energy, there must be initiatives to reduce carbon emissions. Its transition to a low carbon company has resulted in over $500 million in more than 40 technology companies and green VC funds, such as Peloton, Beyond Limits and Voltaware.
Obvious Ventures (San Francisco, Calif.)
Obvious Ventures’ #worldpositive impact program invests in energy, mobility, and food markets. Their portfolio includes Change.org, Medium, Beyond Meat, Proterra, and Mosaic.
Chrysalix (U.S. and Canada)
Led by CEO Wal van Lierop, a leader and visionary in commercial energy conservation for more than thirty years, this cleantech VC works with clients like Primus Power, Enbala, Liquid Light, and Glasspoint.
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