Catherine Hamilton, Pomo Magazine, Emily Kirsch discussed on The Energy Gang

The Energy Gang


Pandemic in twenty twenty venture capital poured into client technologies at record levels. It was a happy surprise midst the collapsing economy and years of investment stagnation in his founders and investors venture out into the world again. The money is only coming in faster this week. Climate tech isn't just having a moment. It's having age why we are at the start of a climate tech era in venture capital. Hi katherine how are you doing great. It's actually very much. Go time in congress right now so A lot of my energy is being put into that. You look like you're out in the mountains. Still judging by your background yeah. It doesn't matter where you work because everything is still virtual. Luckily i mean the senate when i was. I've been watching a hearing today it. They're all there and all their staffer there but they certainly aren't taking meetings in person at this point so i've been able to be pretty efficient. Get things done from wherever i am. I was wondering where you were before we recorded in early this morning as i was putting together show notes. I check twitter to see if i could see any updates. And sometimes i just lazy and google someone's name and twitter and there's another catherine hamilton out there who's the food editor for pomo magazine. Whose tagline is always looking for an excuse to eat butter which i thought was quite funny. Most people tell me when they google catherine hamilton. They find a woman who makes underwear for large. One didn't see that one. She does nice stuff. Evidently well. let me google our guest here. Guess co host. Emily kirsch and twitter. No other emily kirsch out there. I see emily curse. Ceo powerhouse and the managing partner at power unicorn unicorn. Hi emily hello hi stephen. Hi catherine i am honored to be here with you. Thank you for having me. Emily is a familiar voice on this show. She's been the host of what it takes and entrepreneurship podcast about founders in the climate tech world and the show started right here is a partnership with green tech media entered in the energy gang and now it's a spinoff series so i see you regularly in that closet of yours. I am in this closet. May no one ever see what it looks like when i am recording what it takes or with you on the energy gang. Emily is back here with us. To tackle many of the underlying dynamics that are either propelling or holding back cleantech and climate tech companies and so the the adventure world and the world of silicon valley tech companies is certainly moving once again and interestingly even though things froze up last year for a ym there was a lot of movement in deal flow in climate tech venture capital in fact venture investments topped seventeen billion dollars in twenty twenty across more than a thousand deals. Five years ago it had fallen to five point. Two billion which was a thirty percent decrease from a previous peak in twenty eleven. And we all know what happened and twenty eleven that is when celinda went bankrupt and a handful of other companies went bankrupt and all of a sudden enter. Investors left the space. But suddenly it's cool to be putting your money into the sector again. And i think there's something different about today's enthusiasm. And that's what. I wanna hear from both of you about this. First wave was all about the coolness of cleantech had thin-film solar companies taking a bunch of money electric. Sports cars printable batteries it. It was all about Proving cost curves as well and today. There's a lot more technological maturity you have a lot. More scale and manufacturing we have bigger and better data more resources for startups to tap. And there's also this deep moral responsibility that is infused the investments were seeing if you're running a major. Vc firm corporate venture arm. You're out of the loop if you don't have the client component to your portfolio andrew. Bb of obvious ventures argues. We've entered the climate decade in veasey. And i think we're talking about well beyond a decade here because these are structural changes that are not shifting for anybody they are only getting more solidified so what are what results to expect from the mainstream advocation of climate tech. Let's just take a step back because in these conversations it's always helpful to understand where we came from katherine you worked for a private equity company called good energies in two thousand seven and two thousand name that was when this first Round of activity was picking up. What was the scene. Like then is interesting because i still stay in touch with all this folks richard. Kaufman was the ceo. And a he he. And i remain in touch constantly on a number of projects. shaam peterson. who's now during the climate fund for wellington. Was there at the time. I was hired ostensibly to do policy remember. This was before the obama administration came in and when obama came in. You know there was this promise of co two regulation and a stimulus bill. That would be really focused on cleantech but before that it was there was really not that much policy to focus on so i instead because i had come up through utility and had done a lot in technology and had worked at the national renewable energy lab also technology. I ended up doing a lot of diligence kind of work and investigating the technologies in a couple of things really stuck out one was that there wasn't that much policy conversation and so good that i think we can talk about at some point is really important to investment But the other pieces. A lot of these companies had really good ideas but the market wasn't clear. How are they going. Actually get into the market. Where was the market going. And so some of it was really. It was about investing a lot of money in it propositions that were pretty expensive to develop. But there really wasn't a sense of when you hit the next valley of death what's going to pull you out. What's the hope emily. When you're first starting powerhouse in two thousand thirteen that was right when we were in the trough of investments. Well we're investors and partners telling you at that time. did you. Experience doubts when you setting up the firm definitely. Yeah when i was starting powerhouse in twenty thirteen investors were absolutely telling me that they got burned on cleantech and they had no interest in making bats space in some cases ever again. But as you know now. Leading postscript part of being an entrepreneur is taking risks. That others won't take an ignoring the doubters when you have conviction. And so despite those conversations and despite the down-swing i had nothing but conviction that the raisa renewables and batteries and the electrification of transportation was inevitable in part because of just looking at the global level is cost of energy decline trajectory as well as the renewable share of global installed capacity that trajectory. Both of those were so clear even at that time that this transition is inevitable and I ignore the doubters and ignored the investors who said they were interested in our space. And i'm happy i did. Have you heard from any of those doubters now. They investing in the space. Are they partners. They definitely are yup. Yup partner is investing in climate Starting new funds. And it's great to see and actually and some aren't and that's okay too so catherine. What are the conditions today that you think are contributing to this new surge. That were seeing. Yeah i'm in a reference A newsletter by kimberly zoo and sophie purdham from cleantech climate tech v. c. dot org and. They say they're few things in climate tech. That avar always been true. One is that climate is technology..

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