Podcast : How can climate technology companies be built quickly and surely?
By getting talented and motivated people in a room and allowing them to play their parts.
We need innovative entrepreneurial approaches to solve the climate crisis. The problem is that majority of entrepreneurial organizations fail, and innovation takes a long time to spread. Given that we have so few years left to bring effective solutions to the market, can the world depend on a painfully slow process that fails far more often than it succeeds?
Carbon13, the venture builder for the climate emergency, is approaching the problem from two unique standpoints.
First: it is tacking one key reason why most entrepreneurial organizations fail. The founding members are often not suited for each other or not suited for the market they are addressing. Carbon13 is inviting applications from individuals — entrepreneurs, business folks, software developers and scientists — to come together, share ideas and form teams. The process of forming teams comes with the rigour of jointly developing the business idea and asking what skills are required to build the business. This should lead to stronger teams.
Second: by bringing together talented and committed people building different businesses, with one common thread, they are building a community where people are willing to share knowledge. This fosters trust and creates the type of environment which can speed up the spread of new products.
Listen to Chris Coleridge, of the Cambridge Judge Business School talk of how and his colleagues are helping build innovative organizations that will have the potential to reduce carbon emissions by 10 million tonnes per annum at Carbon 13. The process starts with selecting 70 people of diverse backgrounds from over 1000 applications. These 70 people form their business teams by trading ideas during the first six weeks. In the first six weeks, all members must spend some time physically with each other in the University of Cambridge. Once they form teams they go back and work with each other and come back to pitch for a pre seed investment. Then with this money they are off to an accelerator phase, selling to customers and attracting the next round of investment.
This is building businesses on steroids. It requires highly motivated people who can work with each other. It requires a network of business supporters, people who can provide advice and perspective and open doors with introductions. It also requires a network of venture capitalists who can fork out cash.
Chris says it is coming together. Scientists working on climate related areas are keen to work with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists seem to have veered around that climate technology is the area of investment.
“This is a moment of history where the world has a demand and scientists know that the traditional way of commercialising technology is slower than the way possible with venture capital.”
Chris draws a comparison to the work they are doing at Carbon 13 with the Globe Theatre of Shakespeare. They are setting the stage up for the world to see an extraordinary exhibition of talent. Rightly so as something dramatic must happen for the world to escape the climate crisis.