If you could pick a dream team comprised of the world’s best executives and investors, who would you choose?
Well, this dream team already exists — and it has attracted some of the world’s biggest billionaires.
Here’s what you need to know.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures: The Dream Team
Breakthrough Energy Ventures is a billion dollar fund backed by some of the world’s top entrepreneurs and investors, including, among others:
- Bill Gates (Microsoft)
- Jeff Bezos (Amazon)
- Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
- Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg)
- Richard Branson (Virgin)
- Jack Ma (Alibaba)
- David Rubenstein (Carlyle)
- Ray Dalio (Bridgewater)
- Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn)
- Jon Doerr (Kleiner Perkins)
- Masayoshi Son (Softbank)
- Julian Robertson (Tiger)
- Dustin Moskovitz (Facebook)
- Vinod Khosla (Khosla)
Founded in 2016, the goal of Breakthrough Energy is to “make sure that everyone on the planet can enjoy a good standard of living, including basic electricity, healthy food, comfortable buildings, and convenient transportation, without contributing to climate change.”
Investment Strategy: Energy Sector
In December, the fund announced its five-point strategy, which provides a window into their target investments in energy:
1. Energy storage
3. Global microgrids
4. Zero-carbon building materials
5. Geothermal energy technology
“Energy transitions take a long time, but there’s more urgency than ever to prevent the worst impacts of climate change,” Gates said in a statement. “We need new models of investment and new partnerships between governments and a broad network of investors, companies, and energy customers. Breakthrough Energy is designed to help facilitate those partnerships and bring more energy products from the lab to the market more quickly.”
Breakthrough is focused on technologies that can cut global carbon emissions by at least 500 million metric tons annually.
However, clean tech investments often requires significant capital and long investment horizons to yield returns – which are typically longer than normal venture capital or private equity returns of 10 years or less.
These billionaire investors have a solution: patient capital.
They’re willing to wait longer than traditional investment horizons – up to 20 years, for example – so they can fund companies that can develop world-class, cutting edge technologies that can change the world – even if the lead time is longer.
First Investments: 2 Startups
Breakthrough Energy has made its first investments in two energy startups focused on energy storage.
As reported by Quartz, Breakthrough Energy invested in Form Energy and Quidnet Energy – two startups that are changing the renewables landscape.
Form Energy: Form Energy is focused on creating ultra-low cost, long duration batteries for renewable energy. Their goal is to create a long duration storage solution.
Quidnet: Quidnet is a developer of grid-scale energy storage systems capable of enabling the carbon-free power grid.
Quidnet pioneered a novel form of pumped hydro that is widely deployable at very low cost. By leveraging oil & gas technology, Quidnet helps convert wells into energy storage facilities for large-scale renewables integration and grid management.
The investments in Form Energy and Quidnet follow a broader trend investment focused on renewables.
According to the International Energy Agency, global investments in wind and solar are outpacing investments in fossil fuels, due to the declining cost of producing wind and power.