The effects of a warming planet, from frequent and extreme flooding to hurricanes and drought, has prompted activists and governments to take action. It’s also spurred a growing number of entrepreneurs to launch technology startups focused on the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.
At the center of this activity are the venture capitalists deciding which startup — and tech — has the best chance to decarbonize the planet while providing returns. Unlike other categories, climate tech is particularly complex because it spans so many different industries. Investors might be meeting with a founder trying to develop a plant-based fabric on a Monday and one who claims to have developed cutting-edge carbon capture technology on Tuesday.
TechCrunch is excited to announce that Carmichael Roberts, who co‐leads the investment committee at Breakthrough Energy Ventures, and Sean O’Sullivan, managing general partner at SOSV, will join me on our virtual stage at TechCrunch Disrupt 2021. The virtual conference kicks off September 21 and runs through September 23.
Roberts and O’Sullivan will dig into what climate tech means — and what it doesn’t — their investing approach, the hottest and most promising technology within this sector and the risk of not getting it right.
The pair have the expertise to weigh in. Roberts is also co-founder and managing partner of Material Impact, a fund that builds resilient technology companies developing products to solve real‐world problems using innovative materials. Before he became an investor, Roberts co‐founded several ventures, in which he served as president and CEO or chairman. He also worked in business development at GelTex Pharmaceuticals, acquired by Genzyme for $1.3 billion, and in new product and business development at Dow Chemical (formerly Union Carbide Corporation).
Before Sullivan joined SOSV, one of the most active venture investors in the world, he founded MapInfo. The company grew to a $200 million revenue public company with more than 1,000 employees, and popularized street mapping on computers. He also founded NetCentric, is credited as the co-creator of the term “cloud computing” and co-founded Dial2Do.
The panel is just one of many investment-focused discussions we’ll be having at Disrupt 2021. But as moderator, this is the one I look most forward to!