Sep 8, 2021 - Economy

A new climate venture capital fund with big-name backers

Illustration of a stack of money with a tree-shaped hole in it.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

This morning brought the launch of a climate tech VC fund that's notable for its prominent backers and connective tissue to communities on the front lines of global warming.

Driving the news: Earthshot Ventures is a new early-stage investor in hardware and software companies that announced its presence today and the close of its first fund at $60 million.

  • Backers include Microsoft, billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer, the Emerson Collective, McKinley Alaska Private Investment, Kleiner Perkins chairman John Doerr, Hawaii's state pension fund, and Facebook executive Chris Cox.

The big picture: More and more money is flowing into climate tech at a time when the window is closing to meet the Paris Agreement's climate goals.

  • Via Pitchbook, U.S. climate tech deals this year have already totaled a record-breaking $11 billion.

How it works: The new fund is spun out of the Hawaii-based Elemental Excelerator, a decade-old nonprofit climate tech finance organization.

  • Three of Elemental's officials will lead the new Earthshot fund, including Elemental founder and CEO Dawn Lippert.
  • In addition, the new fund is working with the startup accelerator Launch Alaska.

What they're saying: Earthshot's ties to Hawaii- and Alaska-based organizations will "bring real-world experience and insight deploying technologies in communities on the front lines of climate change," the announcement states.

  • Alaska is seeing melting permafrost and rapid warming, and Hawaii is threatened by sea-level rise and changes in weather patterns.

Go deeper: The private climate finance surge

Go deeper