Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Expert voices: Vaughn Blake of Blue Bear Capital

Alan Neuhauser
Feb 2, 2023
Photo illustration of Vaughn Blake with Blue Bear Capital's logo repeating.

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Courtesy of Vaughn Blake

Climate venture needs to do more than simply trumpet its virtues, "otherwise, we’re all just whistling past the graveyard," Vaughn Blake tells Axios.

Why he matters: Blake is a partner at Blue Bear Capital, an LA-based VC that invests in digital tech for energy, infrastructure and climate.

  • The firm led a $7.4 million Series A announced last month by Axiom Cloud, which developed software to cut energy consumption in refrigeration supply-chains.

This interview was lightly edited for length.

What in your view was the big story in climate tech this week?

What would you add to the narrative?

  • There is a second layer of companies that are operating more stealthily, launched by formidable operators who aren’t dropping quotes to the Times. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them outlast and out-recruit some of the flashier names.

By contrast, what's going under-noticed?

  • Underneath the excitement — and capital — are operational challenges that may be going unmet. Business is business and startups are difficult whether climate tech or not.

In three-ish words, what change would you make to climate-tech investing?

  • More diversity, less groupthink.

Three fun things:

💼 First job: I worked at a flower shop, sweeping up stem clippings, changing water buckets, laying out arrangements at events.

👑 Proudest investment decision: Joining Blue Bear.

🤦 The one you regret: No regrets. But like any VC, we’ve probably missed one or two great ones.

Go deeper