Meta CTO unveils venture firm Gigascale Capital
Mike Schroepfer is ready to debut his next act: climate VC firm Gigascale Capital.
Why it matters: Gigascale will back early-stage climate companies with a particular focus on hardware startups.
Driving the news: Former Meta CTO Schroepfer — aka Shrep — founded Gigascale with former Prelude Ventures general partner Victoria Beasley and former Fine Structure Ventures investor Evaline Tsai.
- The firm is entirely funded by Schroepfer's family office, but will seek additional LPs down the road, Schroepfer tells Axios. That kind of funding allows the firm to better withstand volatility.
- Schroepfer declined to share the firm's initial fund size. Gigascale will invest in pre-seed through Series A stage companies and typically write checks for "a few million" dollars, he says.
Zoom in: As the firm's name implies, Gigascale plans to focus its investments on hardware businesses that have potential to grow.
- The team has so far worked in thematic stretches, Schroepfer says. The first focus area was building decarbonization and industrial electrification, but the firm has not yet announced any investments publicly.
- Tsai is also particularly interested in companies working on sustainable aviation fuels, and Beasley has revisited grid interconnectivity as a potential focus area at Gigascale.
- Though the firm's initial focus is on hardware, the founding team isn't writing off software or consumer-facing investments entirely, as long as there is a tangible climate impact, Schroepfer says.
Of note: Schroepfer is part of a broader trend of Big Tech executives launching climate investment firms.
- Most notably is Chris Sacca's Lowercarbon Capital, which has cemented itself as an active investor for early-stage climate companies. Before starting Lowercarbon, Sacca was an executive at Google.
What they're saying: "As I was doing philanthropic work, I realized that if we want to solve a climate crisis, we need to sort of reengineer almost every industrial and consumer system on the planet, and that's going to require capital," Schroepfer tells Axios of his decision to spin up Gigascale independent of his existing philanthropic activities.
What we're watching: Gigascale's first investments as indication of where it plans to place its biggest bets.