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Climate tech rising from SF's empty buildings

A group of climate tech entrepreneurs gathered at 9Zero's Climate Innovation Hub in San Francisco.

A group of entrepreneurs gathers at 9Zero's Climate Innovation Hub in San Francisco. Photo: Courtesy of 9Zero

Startup 9Zero is looking to turn a mostly empty building in downtown San Francisco into the heart of "climate alley."

Driving the news: The company launched its Climate Innovation Hub, a co-working space, event venue and membership club, at 350 California St.

  • The venue will be the main physical venue of SF Climate Week, which kicks off next week and features hundreds of decentralized climate-focused events around San Francisco.
  • 9Zero co-founder and CEO Duncan Logan, who previously founded co-working pioneer RocketSpace, told Axios that the idea is to turn 350 California St. into the "first purposeful climate building," then take over the block and expand to other states and countries.

Zoom in: 9Zero has early backing by some angel investors including a personal investment from Colin le Duc, the founding partner of Generation Investment Management.

  • "The climate community is crying out for a centralized connective tissue," says le Duc.

Context: San Francisco's downtown occupancy for commercial real estate plummeted during COVID and has remained stubbornly low.

  • Logan said 350 California St. was 90% empty when they created a deal with the owners SKS Partners and The Swig Company.

State of play: There are a variety of co-working spaces operating in San Francisco that have managed to bring together some level of climate entrepreneurs like Shack15 and Dynamico Space.

  • Co-working group Trellis says it has special rates for climate entrepreneurs.

The big picture: San Francisco is arguably ground zero for climate tech.

What's next: We'll be watching to see if climate tech startups and investors are able to amass in volumes enough to create the vision of a San Francisco climate tech alley.

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