It's about market size, not startup scale
Founders often prioritize scale. Eli Aheto tells Axios he thinks more about market size — not company size. "A relentless focus on unit economics and disciplined overhead will lead to a profitable business that attracts investors."
Why he matters: Aheto is managing director with BeyondNetZero, the $3.5 billion climate venture fund from private equity giant General Atlantic.
This interview was lightly edited for length.
What, in your view, was the big story in climate tech this week?
- The IPCC report Monday. Not surprisingly, it highlighted the lack of progress toward the emissions reductions goals aligned with 1.5-degree temperature rise.
What would you add to the narrative?
- By being slow to deploy technologies that underpin near-term decarbonization, we are subjecting consumers to higher energy costs over the next decade. We are missing climate targets at a cost to consumers that grows every year.
- The fact that solar, wind and EVs in most markets are cost-competitive should catalyze action to mitigate emissions. The transition from green premiums to lower cost/volatility is the real catalyst for our portfolio companies.
By contrast, what's going under-noticed?
- Countries are evaluating opportunities to create new industries and employment and reduce dependencies.
- The IRA gets all the attention given the size of the U.S. market, but other non-EU countries are also creating the legislative support to drive priorities tied to climate.
In three-ish words, what change would you make to climate-tech investing?
- Time value of money and carbon.
Three fun things
💼 First job: IT support team at Constitution Reinsurance Corp.
👑 Proudest investment: A transmission line between Montana and Alberta that enabled thousands of megawatts of wind. It was sold to a large utility and then to a Berkshire Hathaway portfolio company. So I can say I saw the opportunity about a decade before Warren Buffett! Warren, I have some other ideas for you.
🤦 Facepalm investment: A small personal investment in a friend’s comedy movie project.