Mapping the 4 Pillars of Climate Tech with 130+ Startups (early-stage with recent / ongoing fundraising)
Hello from San Francisco, Climate Tribe! I’m Diane, ex-M&A investment banker on my journey to break into Venture Capital (VC) Climate Tech. Eager to “learn by doing”, I decided to leverage my connector skills to build my own network within climate and create my deal sourcing. Since the beginning of 2021:
- I’ve been on 400+ zoom calls (with startups and VCs) / online webinars / in-real-life events
- I’ve joined 20+ networking platforms related to Climate Tech: fellowships, Slack groups, webinars, newsletters, startup lists, etc. (see bottom of the market map below)
- I’ve met with 20+ VCs and 130+ startups focused on Climate Tech
- I’m in ongoing dialogue with climate investors through monthly startup updates
To better understand “who” is investing in “what” in climate tech, I created Market Maps compiling the portfolios of 20+ VCs, showing 400+ VC-backed startups and categorizing them within the 4 Pillars of Climate Tech (recap of all market map images at the end of this post):
II. Energy Transition
III. Mobility & Urbanization
IV. Sustainable Systems
After the fantastic inbounds from VCs and startups on these market maps (30,000+ views and 100+ inbounds on LinkedIn!), I am now ready to conclude this chapter: one Market Map summarizing all 130+ startups that I’ve met so far in all 4 Pillars of Climate Tech. In a nutshell: a big picture of my work throughout this crazy year of 2021 😉
1. How I Created the Map
First, I got SUPER-active on 20+ climate tech networking platforms, cold-emailed some founders, got warmly introduced to many others, which led me to meet with 130+ startups presenting the following profile:
- Source: Insightful 1:1 zoom calls with founders / C-suite
- Sector: Climate Tech (Food & Agriculture, Energy Transition, Mobility & Urbanization, Sustainable Systems)
- Geography: global
- Technology: software; hardware; deeptech / hardtech (concept defined in my previous LinkedIn post)
- Stage: early-stage (pre-seed, seed, Series A)
Then, I mapped the 4 Pillars of Climate Tech (each including 5 categories) with these 130+ startups… and voila! ;D
2. Result: the Map
Market Map of Climate Tech: 130+ startups (early-stage with recent / ongoing fundraising)
3. Metrics and Insights
Taking a further step back on the above map, I used the 3 following lenses to bring further insights on my group of startups:
- By Sector: I strived to cover all 4 Pillars of Climate Tech (and not only the most investable one: Energy), as I truly believe that we need “all hands on deck” - meaning all sectors - to make a real dent in climate change. All companies can and should become climate companies!
- By Geography: I met most startups in the US, with a fair amount in California. As I live in San Francisco, I’m immersed in a tremendous innovation ecosystem comprised of founders with PhDs from Stanford and UC Berkeley, accelerators / incubators in the Silicon Valley, investors in the Bay Area… and an (oh-so-inspiring) optimistic mindset!
- By Technology: I decided to cover all technologies (software, hardware, deeptech) in order to get a holistic view of “Climate Tech”. I am firmly convinced that deeptech would enable the most impactful startups to restore the planet (by reducing our current emissions and also capturing the CO2 already in the air – important part of the warming issue).
Climate Tech could be considered the most exciting treasure hunt of our time: searching for the most disruptive startups who can have a massive impact on the environment and solve the biggest issue of our world today – climate change. In my journey, I was able to find 130+ fascinating startups and introduce 20% of these “gems” to VCs with confirmed interest, fingers crossed for the best outcome!
Energy Voices is a democratic space presenting the thoughts and opinions of leading Energy & Sustainability writers, their opinions do not necessarily represent those of illuminem.
Recap with deep-dive Market Maps of the 4 Pillars of Climate Tech (mostly early-stage and VC-backed):
1. Food & Agriculture
2. Energy Transition
3. Mobility & Urbanization
4. Sustainable Systems
Diane Cozian is a highly-energetic Frenchy in San Francisco and ex-M&A investment banker on her climate journey to break into VC climate tech. She's a fellow at On Deck Climate Tech and she recently published insights on the 130+ climate tech startups she's met so far, as well as deep-dive Market Maps in Food & Ag/ Energy Transition/ Mobility & Urbanization / Sustainable Systems. She loves to connect the dots and the people!