🌲 $642M more for climate tech | NCX co-founder podcast | 27-year hermit in Maine

Plus, Socrates as a lazy philosopher, reading 100 books per year, America's kindest family, extreme weather risk-hedging, and you are more than your work

Howdy folks —

I want to hear from you. If you have feedback on the ZERO newsletter from Entrepreneurs for Impact, please drop me an email.

High fives and such,

Chris


💰 $642M more for climate tech.

First, we have 2150 VC raising its $312M Urban Sustainability Technology Fund — a European fund focused on the urban environment, which accounts for 70% of GHG emissions.

Its investors include Credit Suisse, Nysnø (Norwegian sovereign climate investment company), the BMW Foundation, Northern European real estate private equity platform NREP, Novo Holdings, and Woven Capital (the investment arm of Toyota’s Woven Planet Group).

Plus, it was 33% oversubscribed. So the line to get into this party was long, and not everyone got their VIP pass.

And here’s your new vocabulary for the day: Gigacorns. That’s their term for the kinds of companies they want to back.

Second, we see Energize Ventures raising its $330M Fund II to “scale and commercialize software across renewable energy, mobility, cybersecurity, battery storage, critical infrastructure, and climate resiliency.”

Does your company require CapEx? Or looking for moonshots? Then look elsewhere. Instead, they’re all about digital.

Its investors include Invenergy, CDPQ, SE Ventures (via Schneider Electric), GE Renewable Energy, Hannon Armstrong, Credit Suisse, Xcel Energy, American Electric Power, and Equinor Ventures.

If your head is spinning with all of the capital flowing into climate tech, it’s for good reason. VC investment in climate tech has grown 3x as fast as AI venture since 2013.


🌀 The extreme weather risk-hedging industry.

Why does this matter?

But don’t worry (too much).

Axios put it this way:

  • The future need not be a Hollywood dystopian hellscape. A combination of resilience measures to boost our ability to withstand extreme events, along with emissions cuts to rein in warming over the long term, can ensure that we avoid the worst-case scenarios.”

What’s happening with the future climate risk-hedging solutions?

  • Innovation to the rescue? — A record $584M globally (and $437M in the US) has been invested already this year in startups that help manage climate change-related risks.

  • Credit rating agencies on fire — Moody's bought climate and natural disaster risk modeling company RMS for about $2B, as well as a majority stake in Four Twenty Seven.

  • Examples of leading companies include The Climate Service (shout out to my fellow North Carolina world changers), Demex, Cervest, RMS, Four Twenty Seven, Tomorrow.io, Manifest Climate, OneConcern, Kettle, Climavision, Gro Intelligence, ClimateAI, and Terrafuse AI.

To hear my Climate Torch podcast interviews on this topic, check out the links above to Manifest Climate and Kettle.

Share ZERO: Climate Finance


🌳 The largest forest carbon project in the US. — Max Nova, Cofounder and COO of NCX

NCX is a VC-backed net-zero pioneer using AI, remote-sensing, and robust forestry science to map all forest assets in the US and build a marketplace of high-quality carbon offsets. They’re on to something so innovative that Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures invested, and he joined their Board of Directors.

Below are two excerpts from the podcast with co-founder and COO Max Nova.

  • "One of the things you'll hear a lot of people say is that this is a critical decade for the climate or climate action, and it's true. The big net-zero corporate commitments go out to 2040 or 2050, but we have to start making progress now because the scale of the problem is enormous. We see our role at NCX as helping bring scale to this challenge by engaging every landowner in the country, and one day the world. It's about every acre assessed every year. That's the kind of scale that we need to do and even forests won't be a silver bullet for this problem."

  • "What's fascinating is that most of these Chief Sustainability Officer positions — those making or catalyzing buy decisions for our carbon offsets — did not exist 1-2 years ago. Everybody is new. Everybody is trying to figure this out. Because it's a new role, there's tremendous diversity in how this role is set up in corporations. Sometimes the Chief Sustainability Officer reports to marketing, sometimes they're part of the supply chain logistics group, and other times they report directly to the CEO. The way that this position fits into the org chart because reflects something about the organization's priorities and why they're making these commitments. There are a lot of different reasons, both internal and external, that companies choose to make these commitments."

Oh, and a fun fact — Max reads about 100 books a year. So, there’s a challenge for you in 2022.

Check out this Climate Torch podcast:

Listen to Our Podcast


🤔 Socrates: A lazy philosopher?

In a recent read — The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel — I came across this passage and thought it worth sharing.

So…

  • Is leisure time our greatest asset? (“Wait, I thought it was bitcoin?”)

  • Is a busy life barren because of the constant task surfing? (But I’m getting so much done!”)

  • Is the elimination of desire the right path to freedom? (“Tesla cars are exempt, right?”)

Hell if I know.

But they’re good questions to ask as we look at our calendars for the next week or month.

If you’re intrigued, then here’s a summary of the New York Times bestselling The Stranger in the Woods book. You won’t find many other detailed accounts of real-life hermits like this.

  • “Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality; not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own. In 1986, a shy and intelligent 20-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life — why did he leave? what did he learn? — as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.”

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🙏 Are you the kindest person you know?

A recent NPR story highlighted an Oklahoma family as the kindest family in the country. Sweet.

The backstory:

  • Their oldest son, Keaton, died at age eight after a six-year battle with leukemia. Holy crap, I did not see that coming.

  • But while he was in the hospital, he created the K Club — aka, the Kindness Club — to “bring joy to people's lives with charitable acts, many of which were for pediatric hospital patients.” A social entrepreneur in his own right.

  • After his death, the K Club transformed into the Keaton's Kindness Foundation, which provides kids in the hospital with toys and care packages.

So what?

  • If Keaton got to work on this as a little kid, how much more could we grown-ups be doing with random acts of kindness?

  • What adjective do we most wish to be associated with us or our family?

And if you like this, then…

  • You’ll love the last question that Patrick O'Shaughnessy asks in his Invest Like the Best podcast — “What’s the kindest thing that anyone has ever done for you?” Rock on, Patrick. Love that.


That’s all, folks.

Make it a great week, because it’s usually a choice.

— Chris


P.S. Are you more than your job?

As I recently discussed what’s next for Entrepreneurs for Impact with our Advisory Board, one keen member pointed me to this article:

While I LOVE working with climate CEOs and investors every week, this piece reminded me — like a 2x4 stud upside the head — that work and mission are not everything and should not be all-consuming. For me, that means still making time to be a husband, father, friend, son, brother, community member, occasional monk, and —gasp! — a person with hobbies. To be clear, it’s … uh … I’m a work in progress.


Dr. Chris Wedding
Founder and Chief Catalyst, Entrepreneurs for Impact
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