Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), the clean-tech venture capital fund led by Bill Gates, has raised $1 billion for a second round of investments after backing 45 startups with its first billion.
Created in 2016, BEV began funding startups just as the second wave of clean-tech investments was gaining momentum. Since then, interest in the sector has exploded. BEV launched a “patient” fund that would run for 20 years, instead of expecting returns in just five years. It also pursued a larger set of technologies, including agriculture, buildings, transportation, and manufacturing. Profit remains the ultimate objective, but BEV set another criteria: companies needed to show a path to scaling up that would cut at least 500 million metric tons of annual CO₂ emissions—about 1% of global emissions.
The next $1 billion will go to between 40 and 50 startups. While BEV is still interested in a broad set of technologies, it’ll place special focus on “tougher climate challenges” in greener steel and cement, long-haul transport, direct air capture and hydrogen.
BEV relies on a team that consists of academics, entrepreneurs, former government officials, and bankers, along with VC investors. Their mission goes beyond judging an idea and the people behind it to rigorously evaluate the feasibility and potential of new technologies.
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