The Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a group of business leaders, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists led by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates, has announced a $1 billion fund to finance zero-carbon clean-energy technologies.
Launched late last year alongside Mission Innovation, a public-private partnership, at the United Nations climate summit in Paris, the coalition hopes to help double public-sector investment in clean-energy innovation over five years, boost private-sector investment in earlier-stage clean-energy companies emerging from government research and development programs, and promote transparency and knowledge sharing in the clean-energy sector.
To that end, the new Breakthrough Energy Ventures Fund (BEV) will provide early-stage and flexible investments to companies working on promising technologies originating from governments' scaled-up R&D pipelines, including technologies that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least half a gigaton; technologies with an existing scientific proof of concept that can be meaningfully advanced; companies with real potential to attract capital from sources outside of BEV and the broader Breakthrough Energy Coalition; and companies that require the unique attributes of BEV capital, including patience, flexible investment capabilities, and a significant global network.
Twenty coalition members are listed as investors and board members of the fund, including John Arnold, co-chair of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and a former energy hedge fund manager; Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos; Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio; venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers co-chair John Doerr; Alibaba founder Jack Ma; Khosla Ventures founder Vinod Khosla; Good Ventures co-founders Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna; and SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner.
In conjunction with the announcement, the coalition also published The Landscape of Innovation, which outlines fifty-five "technical quests" organized into five "Grand Challenges" areas — electricity, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, and buildings.
"Breakthrough Energy Ventures will collaborate with other investors, governments, research institutions and corporate partners, bringing to the table an investor-led fund with internal scientific expertise, a long-term horizon, and a tolerance and understanding of the investment risks required to transform energy markets," the coalition said in a statement.
"I am honored to work along with these investors to build on the powerful foundation of public investment in basic research," said BEV chair Bill Gates. "Our goal is to build companies that will help deliver the next generation of reliable, affordable, and emissions-free energy to the world."