The Breeze - Issue #2

Investment theses and SINAI Technologies

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Climate tech investment theses

It’s been a surreal week. The coronavirus is a global pandemic. The stock market fell dramatically. It feels strange to be talking about investing when people’s lives are being upended. I invite you to join me in the new practice of social distancing and WFH if possible.

For startups, it’s a black swan event. For climate tech startups, I expect the fundraising environment to be especially rough since it’s an emerging space and VCs are still learning.

But as Paul Graham said in 2008, “a recession may not be such a bad time to start a startup.”

To help climate tech founders identify potential capital sources, I’m sharing a list of climate-focused investors and their focus areas or investment theses. This may also be helpful to investors who are still working on their own theses, like yours truly.

Ranked generally by initial check size, low to high:

I’ve also spoken with generalist VCs who are investing in climate but haven’t published anything yet: Mike and Shawn at Floodgate, Semil at Haystack, Caroline and Bryan at Sequoia, Jyri at Yes, Ian at Cantos, Gaurav at Afore, Jake and Howie at AlphaBridge, Satya at Homebrew, Rick at Equal, Raanan at Resolute, and Josh at Freestyle… to name a few!

If you’re looking for connections to these folks, depending on the context, I might be able to help out.

Interview with Maria Fujihara of SINAI Technologies

On Thursday I interviewed Maria Fujihara, CEO/cofounder of SINAI Technologies. The company is currently in YC and will present virtually at Demo Day on Monday. (Disclosure: I’m an investor.)

You might have seen companies like Microsoft, Starbucks, Intuit, and Shopify make public carbon pledges. Hundreds of companies have made these pledges or must meet local carbon regulations, but there’s no easy way to manage that.

SINAI helps corporations understand their carbon emissions and determine the most cost-effective ways to reduce emissions. Maria shared these tips for corporations:

  1. Corporations first need to understand their emissions across sites, which SINAI helps with.

  2. Next, they must determine ways to reduce the emissions from the production of their goods or services (aka Scope 1 emissions). This requires understanding each potential action’s impact then making decisions.

  3. After exhausting step 2, they can consider buying carbon offsets. However buying offsets isn’t ideal because it’s effectively paying for bad carbon behavior.

Listen to the Talkshow

One more thing: Evolve Energy, which was featured last week, won Startup Grind’s “Grind Startup of the Year” in a field of 300 startups! Read the Startup Grind interview with CEO Michael Lee.

Thanks for reading! You can reach me at

Stay breezy,