Hi everyone, welcome back to Net Zero.
At Climate Week, I was wandering around a display of climate tech startups at New York’s High Line park, and spotted Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley. One of the world’s most powerful climate-justice champions, Mottley was perusing a display set up by Twelve, a company that makes jet fuel and other products from captured CO2. It was “pretty cool,” she told me, saying it reminded her of a Barbados startup working to capture drinkable water from the atmosphere.
I spent a few minutes chatting with Nicholas Flanders, one of Twelve’s co-founders, who told me about the pivotal phase of growth the company is in: Constructing its first commercial-scale factory. In other words, forging into the “valley of death,” the place between developing a technology and actually putting it into profitable use. It’s a place many innovative climate tech companies die in, if they ever reach it. Twelve is trying to be savvy about how it navigates this valley, Andy Stevenson, another exec, told me later, including by hiring a lot of people with a much wider range of skills than the company originally had on board, and being transparent with its customers about where exactly it is on the cost curve, and how it plans to move further down.
Now that a lot of the startups from “Climate Tech 2.0” are reaching maturity, these challenges are becoming a lot more commonplace. In our story today, we hear from one of the few firms that is specifically committed to helping startups navigate the valley of death.
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