Source: Captain Planet

8 Top Climate Tech Syndicates and Cleantech Angel Networks for Impact Investors!

As capitalists, we believe in the power of funding, innovation and entrepreneurship to fundamentally better our world. But sometimes, big change and massive problems (like tackling climate change, feeding our planet or fighting poverty) require a bit more intentional firepower (ie. capital) than the public markets’ short term focus allows. It requires entrepreneurs, investors and visionaries to “put their money where their mouth is” and invest in the changes they want to see in the world.

Not as a donation or charity, but as the early capital and support that world changing climate startups require — like how Tesla needed rich folks to “subsidize” scale and production before making a car for the masses.

Early stage climate investing is no different — except the stakes are MASSIVELY higher… but so are the returns.

For climate tech in particular, it’s the LARGEST investment opportunity in human history as it’s literally a DO OR DIE situation and tens of trillions will be deployed into climate solutions in the coming decades.

Well, if you’re a successful operator, a doctor looking to do good, managing your family’s fortune or a programmer or tech exec bringing in the big bucks, you’re in luck — you can do more with your money than simply just investing in ETFs, Amazon stock or Bitcoin…

Which is why we started 4WARD.VC’s climate syndicate — not only to bring more capital and support for transformative climate tech, but to allow more everyday investors and techies to participate in the upside of climate companies and leverage their networks and expertise to help the companies scale faster.

Unfortunately, the world has rather draconian investor accreditation laws. That means, only certain “special” folks that governments deem “smart enough” or “wealthy enough”, are allowed to invest in promising private companies (ie. startups).

Who is allowed to invest in startups?

In the US, to be considered an accredited investor, you must either:

  • Have a net worth > $1M (outside of the value of your primary residence)
  • Or, have earned > $200k for each of the last two years

And if you live within the EU, to be an elective professional investor, you must meet at least two of the following criteria:

  • Carried out transactions of ‘significant’ size, (at least EUR 50,000) on the relevant market at an average frequency of 10 transactions per quarter over the previous four quarters.
  • Works (or has worked) in the financial sector for at least one year in a professional position, which requires (or required) knowledge of the transactions or services envisaged.
  • The size of the investor’s financial instrument portfolio (defined as cash deposits and financial instruments) exceeds EUR 500,000.

Not sure of your status? For more on if you qualify, research your country’s specific investor accreditation laws.

Getting started angel investing

Whenever people ask about the best way to get started investing into startups (assuming they are accredited), l ALWAYS recommend syndicates (for more on why, see this post). In short, syndicates are the cheapest, easiest, most effective way to get into angel investing. And unless you have at least $25–50k to invest (per company), AMAZING connections to top startup founders and incubators (like the 700+ in our climate VC database we’re connected to), tons of time to invest researching and diligencing the startups and technology plus experience evaluating thousands of prospective startup pitches, you’re not going to get very far — at least without losing TONs of money in the process.

Syndicates are how I got started and how most angel investors learn the ropes of startup investing — you can put smaller tickets and spread your bets (as low as $3k/deal in our syndicate) while getting access to vetted, high quality deals to learn as you go.

Angel networks are an option as well, but typically have much higher minimum ticket sizes ($10–25k) because they don’t set up SPVs (meaning they often complicate a startup’s cap table) and also charge their members large yearly membership fees.

Either way, both are potential options for aspiring angel investors looking to put their money to work in promising, world-positive companies.

And we wanted to highlight some of the best climate syndicates and angel groups out there to help more capital, support and interest flow into the climate & impact space.

The Top Climate Syndicates & Cleantech Angel Networks

In no particular order :)

4WARD.VC’s Climate Syndicate

Although we’re relatively new at 4WARD.VC, we make no qualms about our goal of being the most active, most successful and most helpful early stage investor for breakthrough climate companies led by crazy, world-class founders tackling MASSIVE problems that move our world forward.

We recently made our largest investment to date in EExion, an Israeli battery tech startup poised to transform the future of e-mobility and energy storage and have several other super promising investments we’re making and plan to announce soon.

There are big things in the works, especially thanks to The Startup Tank Climate Investor Pitch Show which has been growing rapidly in both exposure and incredible deal flow.

So, if you’re an early stage climate company with positive “climate economics” (ie. as you grow and earn more, your impact on the world grows proportionally) and HUGE ambitions to combat climate change by creating a juggernaut of a business, we’d love for you to apply.

And if you’re an accredited investor interested in learning more about what we do and investing alongside us (and other leading climate funds) in the breakthrough businesses that will define our future, check out 4WARD.VC’s climate syndicate and apply :)

C3 / Climate Capital

I’ve known and worked with Daniel Kriozere for a while now and we’re big fans of the folks at C3 — hence why we had them as panelists on a previous session of The Startup Tank.

We invited them to co-invest with us in EExion and often share deals with them as they have a great track record of companies like Mosaic, Amperon, Rebellyous Foods and IronOx.

Climate Avengers

Kyle Cherrick is another great angel investor/syndicate lead we love working with. While we send them a good number of deals, we haven’t co-invested with their climate syndicate yet. That said, they have a solid portfolio including Mootral, Blokable, Electrum and Aether Diamonds.

Launch Climate Syndicate

I’m sure you’re all familiar with Jason Calacanis and This Week in Startups. Well, in addition to their SaaS syndicate, Molly Wood (new co-host with Jason, previously of Marketplace fame), leads Launch’s newly formed climate syndicate focused on capital light (mostly SaaS for climate) US-domiciled companies.

Green Angel Syndicate

Specifically focused on the UK, Green Angel Syndicate is the UK’s largest network of specialist investors fighting climate change and have made some solid investments in companies like Zeigo, Naked Energy, AirEx and Oceanium.

Ramez Naam’s Syndicate

I invited Ramez years ago to be a guest on The Disruptors podcast to talk all things renewables, energy storage and electrification. At that time, he was a best-selling sci-fi author, renewable energy evangelist and Singularity University Co-Chair for Energy & Environmental Systems.

Fast forward to today, Ramez is still at the forefront of the energy transition and runs a great Angellist syndicate with investments in the likes of Caribou Biosciences, Zymergen, Arcadia and Threadable.

CREO Syndicate

For larger scale family offices, NGOs and fund managers, CREO’s Syndicate might be a topic as well. Their NYC-headquartered public charity works to syndicate and vet deal flow to catalyze $1 trillion of capital into climate and sustainability solutions by 2025.

Cool Climate Collective

Another solid Angellist climate syndicate with investments in the likes of Juicy Marbles, AgFunder, Alga Biosciences and Waste*d.

Invest in the best — winning with climate syndicate investing

Startups and venture capital is an outliers game. The majority of companies fail and the majority of investors are average at best (which is worse than investing in the S&P 500).

In order to truly win (not just on a climate impact perspective), but also financially, you NEED to invest in the BIG winners that build MASSIVE world changing companies — the ones that return the fund/portfolio many many times over.

You NEED to invest in the WINNERS.

That is what we do at 4WARD.VC — we find, invest in and support the truly EXTRAORDINARY founders and teams with the ability to go big, move the needle on combating climate change and deliver exponential returns for our investors.

Sure, there are other climate syndicates out there, and many have a longer and more established track record than us. So why should you join 4WARD.VC’s climate syndicate? Why bet on us?

In a word, hustle.

In addition to being more exclusive and having better access to the most sought after early stage startups and deals (and The Startup Tank being recommended by nearly all of the top climate accelerators and incubators), we are willing to work harder and be more helpful for our founders, connecting them to dozens of ideal investors/co-investors, industry partners and organizations and featuring them in our expansive media network to help accelerate their growth and fundraising.

Add to that years of experience in the startup and venture scene, a massive worldwide network of founders & investors and a strong background in unconventional growth hacking and scale, and we bring a lot more to the table for our founders than your average syndicate or VC looking for easy wins and empty promises of being “founder friendly.”

To learn more and apply to join our syndicate, please visit 4WARD.VC/syndicate

And for insanely motivated founders looking for the ultimate early stage climate investor, we’d love for you to apply.

Want to learn more as well as get our 600+ Climate VC & Accelerator database? Be sure to subscribe here or Linkedin to never miss a thing

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Matt Ward

Climate Syndicate Lead @ 4WARD.VC | Startup Strategy & Growth Advisor @ mattward.io | Serial Founder: 3 Exits | Looking to join top Climate/Impact VC Fund