Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is putting his money as well as his mouth behind the push for new energy technologies.
First, about the money: Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures is doubling down on its investment in ZeroAvia, a startup that’s working on a hybrid hydrogen-electric powertrain for aircraft capable of flying more than 50 passengers.
Back in December, Breakthrough Energy Ventures led a Series A funding round that raised $21.4 million for the U.S.-British company, with Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund joining in the round. This week, ZeroAvia said Gates’ energy innovation fund is participating in a follow-up investment round amounting to another $24.3 million.
Turntide Technologies, a Silicon Valley venture that’s retooling electric motors for the 21st century, says it has completed an $80 million funding round that was led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the clean-tech fund created by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
Turntide’s executive chairman and CEO, Ryan Morris, emphasized that the company’s backers are looking for a payoff that goes beyond dollars and cents.
“Our investors recognize the critical role that technology will play in our fight against climate change,” he said today in a news release. “To curb the carbon emissions driving this crisis, we all need to change the way that we use energy. That starts with modernizing the technology that is currently powering our world.”
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is celebrating the official launch of Breakthrough Energy Ventures Europe, an investment fund that aims to boost clean-energy innovation in Europe to the tune of 100 million euros. That translates to $112 million at the current rate of exchange.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures was created in 2016 to invest in zero-carbon energy technologies, and it’s laid down bets on 15 ventures since then. But most of those ventures are based in the U.S. and Canada. Breakthrough Energy Ventures Europe, or BEV-E, will make sure Europe is well-represented on the clean-energy frontier.
KoBold Metals’ quest to find new sources of cobalt, a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries, has received high-profile backing from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the $1 billion innovation fund spearheaded by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
Andreessen Horowitz also joined in the Bay Area startup’s funding round, which was disclosed today. The amount of funding, however, went undisclosed.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures was created by Gates and a bevy of other billionaires — including Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Michael Bloomberg and Jack Ma — to make long-term investments in cutting-edge energy technologies. KoBold Metals uses artificial intelligence and “machine prospecting” techniques to search for likely locations of cobalt ore.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the $1 billion energy innovation fund spearheaded by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, has revealed seven more companies in which it’s investing, including startups that aim to build fusion reactors, produce biofuels with microbes, and pull drinking water out of the air affordably.
In addition to Gates, contributors to the fund include Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the Virgin Group’s Richard Branson, Alibaba’s Jack Ma and SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son.
Eighteen months after its founding, the $1 billion Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund’s first investments have been revealed, and they both have to do with energy storage systems.
Quartz reports today that millions of dollars are going to Form Energy, which is working on novel chemistries for low-cost, long-term, high-density batteries; and Quidnet Energy, which aims to store power in the form of highly compressed water.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures is notable for its investors as well as its investments: The fund draws upon contributions from high-profile billionaires including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma.
When the fund was created in 2016 as an outgrowth of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, Gates said its goal was “to build companies that will help deliver the next generation of reliable, affordable and emissions-free energy to the world.”
In addition to grid-scale energy storage, the fund’s target technologies include zero-carbon liquid fuels, micro grids, low-carbon building materials and geothermal energy.