Our thesis is that climate change is an engineering problem that can be fixed by technical solutions.
The challenges in front of us necessitate that we move into an era where our global economy is decarbonised and re-architected in a way that puts humans and other life forms in harmony with the planet that sustains us, while providing jobs, equality, and abundance for all.
In order to get there, every sector of every industry, in every region across our global economy will go through wholesale changes. The stakes are high, but so are the opportunities.
Our goal is to help accelerate the deployment of the transformative technologies that have the potential to:
- (a) decarbonise industries at a rate of 500+ Mt CO2e/y;
- (b) remove atmospheric carbon at a rate of 500+ kt CO2e/y and store it for 100+ years; and/or
- (c) substantially increase the resilience of people and nature to mitigate the impact of climate change.
We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.
It’s a once-in-a-generation transformation across all sectors that is underway, accelerated by a convergence of factors:
- We need to act now to have a chance to limit warming to 1.5C.
- The best teams are attracted by the most ambitious problems/opportunities - there’s plenty of smart folks transitioning from various horizons to focus on climate seeking to add more meaning to their career.
- Net-zero commitments from governments and large companies ($20+trn), plenty of regulations/incentives available, all this by 2030 – this decade is radically different from the cleantech bubble from the 2000s.
- There are many existing and proven technologies that “just" need to be deployed at scale, in conjunction with new breakthrough technology that are maturing.
Our mandate (i.e. what we will not compromise on)
- Climate focused – as defined above.
- Commercial viability – we believe that, in order for these companies to have the biggest impact over time, they need to offer a convincing business model, go-to-market strategy, and path to profitability.
- Venture-scale returns – while we understand that some of these companies may be more capital-intensive, present a longer investment horizon, or have greater risk than traditional tech investments, we do expect all of these companies to offer the potential to deliver massive returns.
- Strong lead or co-investor signal – although we’d like to lead rounds, we may not be in a position to do so as a syndicate. Typically, the maximum amount we’d be able to raise may not be sufficient to lead a round nor would we have the sufficient resources to run a lead-type of due diligence (i.e. we don’t charge a management fee unlike most funds). However, if we see a great opportunity that has been overlooked by typical leads, and we have the resources to conduct the due dil, we won’t hesitate to do so.
- Only backing exceptionally committed founders – i.e. investing in people doing their life’s work.
- We feel lucky to get an allocation – the best founders can raise from anyone and consider money as a commodity. They’re not coming to us for the $ as our check size will be usually small compared to traditional funds.
Some of our previous personal investments
- Charm industrial - converts biochar into bio-oil that they then inject underground as negative emissions.
- Pachama - use AI and satellites to validate and monitor forest restoration and conservation efforts.
- Arcadia - makes energy data from 80% US accounts standard and available to other solutions via their API.
- Remora - captures the carbon emissions from trucks then sells the captured carbon dioxide to concrete producers.
- Noya - retrofits industrial equipment (e.g. cooling towers), converting them into CO2 capture machines.
- Nitricity - produces low emissions nitrogen fertilisers directly on farms, using only air, water and the sun.
- Heirloom - help minerals absorb CO2 from the ambient air in days, rather than years.
- AMP Robotics - use robotics and AI to automate waste triaging.
- Ohmi Go - an exclusive electric car sharing service for office and apartment buildings
- Circle Harvest - alternative protein products made out of 100% Aussie farmed Crickets
- Infravision - unmanned Aircraft Systems for Power Line Construction
- Hygrid - renewable energy and battery storage asset performance management
- Bloom - climate impact investing made easy
- Carbon Asset Solutions - measures and delivers high quality soil-based carbon credits to global markets faster and more efficiently
- Toha - a global marketplace to invest in regenerative agriculture
- Harvest Thermal - integrates super-high efficiency heating equipment with thermal energy storage
- Invest $150+k in ~10-20 companies/y raising their seed round – we’ll aim to increase our allocation but that should be a good start.
- Deploy $1.5+m/y
- We (syndicate leads) write the first $10k to prove skin in the game
- Minimum investment: $1k
Standard Aussie Angels terms.
- Sacha Schmitz – I’ve founded 2 successful software startups and I am an angel investor in 13 climate tech companies (pre-seed to series A, mostly in the US at the moment). I’m looking to help strengthen the AU climate tech space. Currently building a new climate tech company; co-founder of Whispli; YC alumni; On Deck Climate Tech Founding fellow; Harvard Innovation Lab fellow.
- James Tilbury – I’m a Partner at ERM, the world's largest sustainability consultancy, and a General Partner at Impact Ventures, a climate tech VC fund. My previously roles include the lead climate and sustainability specialist at BCG, co-founder & CEO of EnergyLab (Australia's leading climate tech startup accelerator), and a carbon auditor at Ernst & Young. I’ve spent more than a decade in the climate change industry and have been managing climate tech funds since 2017 with over 85 climate tech startups currently under management.
Why us / how we’ll attract the best founders?
- We are part of highly curated networks from which we have privileged access to top quality early-stage opportunities, whether from YC demo days, EnergyLab, OnDeck, Ocean Impact Organisation and Boomerang Labs.
- We usually connect with founders before they start raising – as founders, we’ve been in the same shoes and we legitimately love helping them on operational topics and getting our hands dirty. Our #1 metric for success is the number of referrals from founders we worked with to other founders. Another great indicator for success is whether founders let us help them with their fundraising (i.e. strategy, pitch, intros, etc).