How Things Have Changed As Climate Technology Enters a New Era

Rachel Smith, Applied Technology Review | Wednesday, June 08, 2022

A new wave of climate technology has emerged from the ashes of Cleantech 1.0. It is more broadly focused and rises quickly as climate technology approaches a unique tipping point.

FREMONT, CA: The climate tech ecosystem is currently inflecting, with increased interest, capital, and talent. However, this resurgence is in the shadow of the previous wave of "Cleantech 1.0" companies, which conspicuously failed to meet their mandate.

Candice claims that the current landscape differs in at least five major ways.

1. It is now a Scaling and Societal Change Issue as it is a Technical One.

While there are still significant barriers to the scale-up of clean technologies, these barriers are caused by market dynamics rather than the inherent technical challenges of innovation.

2. The Ecosystem is Attracting New Types of Talent.

As climate technology enters the scaling stage, more business talent enters the ecosystem.

There is also a large group of company-builders from the tech world entering climate tech, bringing a talent level that hasn't previously existed in the climate sector. People who were founders of the first 50 employees of successful tech companies are now becoming Founders in the climate tech space.

3. General Vibe of Rising Energy

People are so eager to get involved that they are leaving high-paying jobs in tech and other industries to pursue their dreams.

This level of influx from company builders from highly skilled industries can be viewed as a positive sign. But it's important not to get caught up in the enthusiasm — thorough research into companies and market viability is still necessary and healthy before starting or investing in something in the space.

4. Constant Technological Advancements

Since Cleantech 1.0, the space has seen incredible technological advances and an influx of younger academics explicitly interested in breaking down technical barriers to help our world emit fewer greenhouse gases and capture and store already emitted greenhouse gases more permanently than previously possible.

5. The Meteoric Rise of Climate-Tech Investment

The difficulty with climate tech investing is that it necessitates patience. Venture capitalists must broaden their investment horizons in climate technology for those investments to pay off.

Climate-tech firms such as Breakthrough Energy Ventures, G2VP, Powerhouse, Greentown Labs, Lower carbon Capital, and Congruent Ventures, and If their investments pay off, the rewards for such investors could be enormous.

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