Climate Startups: Resources and Funding

Funding for Climate Software Startups

During v1 Launch Week, we made two important announcements:

  1. The RedwoodJS project is fiscally sponsored by Preston-Werner Ventures (see announcement)
  2. We are launching a $1M Redwood Startup Fund (see announcement)

The intersection of these initiatives is a focus on finding, funding, creating, and supporting solutions related to the wicked climate challenges of our day. Although the Redwood Fund will not exclusively fund climate startups, our goal is to give strong preference to climate applicants.

Since making this announcement, we’ve received a lot of interest and questions. There are two inquiry themes so far:

  1. what kind of climate software solutions are you looking to fund?
  2. I’m an individual looking to work or initiate a climate startup — are there existing startups or founders you can connect me with?

We’re going to work on answers to both of these questions.

Connecting Entrepreneurs with Actionable, High-priority Climate Challenges

Resources for Climate Developers

This document is our best, high-level answer to the question, “What kinds of climate solutions will you fund?” The answer, unfortunately, is not as simple as, “plant more trees.” Although the climate crisis is highly complex, there are three priority categories to drive the solutions with the most impact:

  1. Electrify everything
  2. Fix food
  3. Clean up the power grid

Software is not a direct solution. But software is needed to enable solutions across each of these categories.

The document below is maintained by Jae Pasari at PWV, who’s the Climate Program Manager, guiding our initiatives and investment decisions. I encourage you to read through the linked articles and explore the categories.

Connecting Entrepreneurs with High-impact Problems (and Each Other)

Working with Jae and our network of experts, we want to find ways to connect Redwood entrepreneurs with opportunities that will drive the impact we need, now. Additionally, we want to find ways to connect developers and potential entrepreneurs with each other.

There are no specific next steps or plans, yet, but we are exploring the following ideas:

  • Redwood Meetups for Climate Entrepreneurs and Devs
  • Networking into existing groups and investment funds
  • Interviewing experts in science and technology
  • Matching existing climate companies that need software with Redwood Developers

To be clear, it’s still early days for the Redwood Fund — these are ideas that do not yet exist. Sharing these is a way to communicate our intent and where we see momentum plus opportunity. Importantly, we would much rather join or support existing organizations or activities. A part of our next steps is to find out what already exists and the find ways to collaborate.

What’s Next? How to Join Us and Help

If you’re interested in starting a climate software company, then stay tuned! The Redwood Startup Fund will be launching soon, and we’d love for you to apply.

In the meantime, make sure you look through the document linked above. And just ask questions in the comments if you’d like to learn more about what kinds of climate solutions we consider critical and high impact.

Collaboration and Networking

If you have ideas or opportunities that align with any/all of the above, reach out directly or leave a comment below. We need your ideas and help!

If you are interested in helping us network between existing organizations and groups, please let us know and also reach out to @tilmannb who is currently exploring a “Redwood Climate Startup Meetup” (or something of the sorts) to help connect experts, organizations, and entrepreneurs.

Lastly, if you are a dev who wants to join or start a climate startup, but you’re currently looking for a climate problem to solve with software, stay tuned! Please do reach out or add a comment to this post — more opportunities to come!

6 Likes

:star_struck: Happy to see Climate Action and RedwoodJS moving forward together.

For everyone new to the field: I like this concise summary by Prof. Kim Nicholas

  1. It’s warming :fire:.
  2. It’s us :person_raising_hand:.
  3. We’re sure :scientist:.
  4. It’s bad :worried:.
  5. We can fix it :seedling:.

I am super optimistic that we can solve this as team mankind. But it is crucial to focus more and more energy and resources on the topic in the following years. The Redwood Startup Fund seems to be a step in the right direction.

And as @thedavid wrote:

Software is not a direct solution. But software is needed to enable solutions across each of these categories.

We will need a lot of capable human beings working together to build, market, sell, document, adopt, roll out and scale software for the climate. We need diverse teams from different backgrounds to help existing companies focus on the right things and start new companies to build missing parts.

The Redwood Startup Fund is a chance for everyone interested in the topic. Let’s discuss what we need to motivate as many people as possible.

I am interested to hear if this is an area you want to work on. If the answer is yes: What is stopping you at the moment from working on it full time?

Feel free to reach out if you try to break into the climate space. I left the tech company I founded to focus on climate action and learned a lot about the space in the last months.

5 Likes

Thanks for this.

Since software is means to an end, I would think the interesting part is to uncover some of the use-cases and problems from the ground up. There are sooo many directions one can take here. I used to work in renewable energy as an example and would love to move into this space from the web development perspective, however - I also want to make sure that the impact can be high.

This is perhaps more of a business question but maybe we can collate some of the climate problems / areas / solutions (at least current) / caveats etc.

For example, we know that we need to not only reduce CO2 emissions, but also remove the existing carbon from our atmosphere. What is the most efficient way to do so right now, what are the main problems reaching certain efficiency etc…

This may be too broad of a question but maybe its also worth a blog-post or separate discussion in one of your startup hours to touch upon these things and perhaps discuss in more detail.

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Yes! Exactly. That’s why we’re coordinating this effort with people like Jae at Preston-Werner Ventures. He’s an climate scientist and works with other experts. We want to help provide frameworks for high-impact efforts.

There are also other groups and networks of technologists and potential founders. We’re reaching out to them and hoping to cross-network. @tilmannb is already looking into opportunities.

Current ideas are to have a casual “Office Hours” with some experts in early June. Then have a broader Meetup later in June. All virtual.

Stay tuned! And keep the dialogue going here.

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This is incredible! I don’t have a project in mind but would love to lend some of my time to work on something like this that can have real world positive impact :smile:

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More to come! And I’ll definitely keep you in mind as we go.