What kind of companies are you most likely to invest in?
While some people emphasize new game-changing technologies, we believe we could greatly speed up our way to a net-zero economy by scaling all the cleantech innovations that already exist.
We support digital solutions based on technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, blockchain, IoT and even robotics.
Furthermore, we consider climate change as an investment theme which touches multiple industries and verticals. These include, but are not limited to, agritech and food systems, forestry, logistics and supply chain optimization, energy efficiency, renewable energy adoption, electric transport and climate fintech.
What do you look for in a management team?
We strongly prefer at least two co-founders: a CEO and a CTO. Solo entrepreneurs can join our Earth Venture Studio program to find a co-founder and get support that extends far beyond cash.
While we don’t expect a management team to have a background in climate change or experience running a climate tech startup, we value founders with a great passion for sustainable development and a profound belief in the power of entrepreneurship.
In addition, we screen founders and teams on our ABC gold standards – Ambition, Breakthrough and Commitment.
We also favor teams with extensive industry and domain expertise that can translate into an unfair advantage.
What depth of financial information is essential in a pitch deck?
Most pre-seed and seed startups will have limited financial information. That’s why we greatly value an effort to include information that could demonstrate traction, key operating metrics, cost structure, how future financing will be used and cash flow projection.
What criteria do you use to assess impact and sustainability?
Since there are no global standards for climate change investment, we work with each startup team to define key impact metrics based on their industry, referencing commonly accepted frameworks from organizations such as the Global Impact Investing Network and UNDP.
We are also developing a diverse network of climate change and domain experts. They can consult us as well as mentor our portfolio companies to grow their understanding and capacity to track and measure impact.
Where do most applications and pitch decks fall down?
It’s unlikely for us to invest in startups without impact potential. At the same time, we won’t invest in impact projects that don’t address unrealized business opportunities or unmet customer needs.
Pitch decks which clearly demonstrate both factors have a higher chance of proceeding to the next round. We want to pursue the best of both worlds: climate impact and financial returns.
We will also skip pitch decks which lack essential information, including market size, why now and the competitive landscape.
If you could say one thing to every startup, what would it be?
Solve big problems and look for scalable solutions.
It’s also important to validate your solution as soon as possible, and purposefully plan your impacts.