CleanTechies Podcast

#139 The Climate Tech Opportunity, Developmental Finance in Climate, & More w/ Jamil Wyne (Climate Tech Bootcamp, Riffle Ventures)

December 09, 2023 Silas Mähner (CT Headhunter) & Somil Aggarwal (CT PM & Investor) Season 1 Episode 139
CleanTechies Podcast
#139 The Climate Tech Opportunity, Developmental Finance in Climate, & More w/ Jamil Wyne (Climate Tech Bootcamp, Riffle Ventures)
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

🌎 Today, we are talking to Jamil Wyne of Climate Tech Bootcamp & Riffle Ventures.

In this episode, you will find:

  • Why direct access to customers and revenue generation are crucial for success in the climate tech space
  • How Jamil shaped Climate Tech Bootcamp with individuals with deep subject matter expertise and a builder's mindset
  • A walkthrough of his leading report “The Climate Tech Opportunity” published by the Oxford Climate Tech Initiative

Enjoy the Episode! 🌎

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🌎 If you'd like to see the full PodLetter, go to our substack to see all the written content that supplements the audio interview.  
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Topics

  • 1:16 Intro
  • 10:36 Policy-oriented mindset in climate
  • 16:27 Parallels between developmental finance and climate investing
  • 29:24 Origins of CT Bootcamp
  • 36:58 Choosing Climate experts and filling in founders’ weaknesses
  • 54:12 What is Riffle Ventures
  • 59:55 How he thinks about COP 28 being in Dubai and concerns with O&G
  • 1:08:41 The Climate Tech Opportunity
    • 1:08:41 Energy
    • 1:10:00 Transportation
    • 1:11:31 Food & Ag
    • 1:12:47 Industry
    • 1:15:43 Built Environment
    • 1:17:49 GHG Capture
    • 1:20:16 Managing & Reporting
  • 1:23:01 Advice to VCs

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Links

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We are proud to continue working with NextWave as our official show sponsor for this podcast. NextWave and all of its staff are highly motivated to advance the ClimateTech revolution and are constantly innovating ways that they can help affect that transition. From experts in the talent space to ESG experts, NextWave is taking on Climate and Social responsibility head-on and helping companies build great cultures that not only make the world a better place but also increase workplace satisfaction. Reach out to NextWave Partners today to learn more about how we might partner with you today. https://www.next-wavepartners.com/ / info@next-wavepartners.com

SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

Welcome back to the CleanTechies Podcast, where we interview the top climate tech founders and VCs to get their best advice for you.


On this episode, I am very excited to be interviewing my friend and extremely chaotically involved investor, Jamil Wyne,


Co-founder of Climate Tech Bootcamp and Riffle Ventures.


I'm greatly simplifying Jamil's roles when I say that, as in reality, he is an investor, community builder, policy advisor, and professor all in one very busy person.


Our conversation is exactly as insightful and chaotic as this sounds.


I could not be more excited for you all to listen.


This episode is even more special because we recorded this on the day that the climate tech opportunity dropped.


from the Oxford Climate Tech Initiative for whom Jamil was the lead.


So this was his report and it dropped the day of this reporting.


You get to hear his thoughts on each of the hottest sectors in climate straight from the press as we get his live reaction to the report.


If I sound excited, it's because I am.


Thank you to all of you for listening and let's get into the show.


Enjoy the episode.


Shoutout to our sponsors, NetZero Insights.


NetZero Insights' mission is to enable the transition to a sustainable future by giving decision makers access to the leading market intelligence platform on climate innovation.


Through the NetZero platform, NetZero Insights provides high quality data and insights on the CTVC ecosystem by being the best at tracking orgs and funding rounds.


I've had a great time using this to prepare for the podcast and researching companies, funding rounds, VCs, and the latest I need to know about the ecosystem.


Use the link in our description to schedule your personalized demo with the team and claim your 10% discount.


Thanks again to the Netzeer Insights team for sponsoring this show.


SPEAKER 1: Silas Mahner

Hey there.


Are you building a climate tech business and looking for very specialized talent?


Consider reaching out to our sponsors, NextWave Partners.


NextWave are experts in talent acquisition, recruitment and retention across the climate tech, renewables and ESG spaces globally.


So if your team is growing or you're looking to make a career change yourself, feel free to reach out to NextWave at next-wavepartners.com or reach out to one of their consultants directly via their LinkedIn page.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

All right, well, Jamil, welcome to the show.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Yeah, it's great to be here, man.


Thanks a lot for having me.


We're getting this done.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

me too, you know, we've for the audience, we've gone back and forth, you know, a decent number of times just completely independently of this and long story short, it just so happened that we could have you on the show.


So I'm really looking forward to it.


You have like one of the most diverse set of experiences and you're still going.


So I think if anything, we might leave the audience more confused than when we started.


I think that's that that means that we had a good show.


So I don't know how you feel about that, but I'm excited for it.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

I mean, whatever we need to do, if it's confusion you're looking for, I've got that in spades.


So as somebody who is always confused myself, I'm happy to help others become confused.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

So yeah.


And real quick, where are we finding you today?


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

So I'm based in Washington, DC.


So typically I'm here, sometimes travel, but more often than not, this is where I'm at.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

Okay, perfect.


Well, you know, just for the audience, why don't you, you know, just as a bit of a teaser, there's like, probably six or seven things we could talk about ad nauseum about what you do, but just what's most relevant to you?


Like, just could you give the audience an introduction as to, you know, the things that interest you and what your roles are?


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Yeah, yeah, absolutely.


So I think the easiest way to describe it would be current work focuses on climate change, primarily climate tech and climate investing.


Um, from four angles.


So first one would be as an investor, I have a portfolio of climate tech startups.


Um, they are all North American based for now, uh, but certainly would love to start expanding abroad.


Most of them are in kind of the usual suspect sectors, right?


So energy efficiency, hardware and batteries and, um, bioplastics, et cetera.


And so.


It's, it's been a great adventure to be able to move into that space, but one that, you know, we're all still learning a lot about.


Next hat is in the academic sector.


So that's done through teaching a course at George Washington University called Systems Thinking and Climate Change.


And then also being one of the co-leads of the Oxford Climate Tech Initiative at the Said Business School in Oxford.


And.


That's less teaching, much more research.


And as we were talking about a second ago, just came out with our, our first kind of inaugural study on climate tech around the world.


And then on the advisory side, I, and this is where I kind of take a little bit of a step back from the technology side of things and focus a little bit more on just the pure investing and a little bit more on the policy side.


So that's through work with groups like USAID, the Development Finance Corporation, the UN.


Jamil Wyne Climate Tech Bootcamp, Riffle Ventures


And then the last is probably the one that I'm most excited about, even though I feel really lucky to be able to do all of this, but this fourth bucket is the one that I think is where I'm going to start having a bit more, just allocating a lot more time to, and that's through running the Climate Tech Bootcamp and then co-founding and running Riffle Ventures.


The bootcamp you could think of as a pre-accelerator for climate tech startups from around the world.


Riffle is more of a venture builder and advisor and


I think as I, you know, as I said earlier, I think we, we will eventually have a fund.


It's just not where we're at at the moment.


Um, so anyway, that, that is me in a nutshell in terms of what I do now.


And then how I got here is, you know, I've always worked in the world of entrepreneurs, predominantly ones that are trying to, to solve some type of big challenge.


If, you know, whether that be, um, education related, healthcare related, environmental and energy related.


And so.


I, I think I'm entrepreneur first, founder first, always want to have those people, you know, be in their corner.


Um, and, and I think now I get to do it with, you know, taking on some really big challenges with some people that are doing really amazing work in them.


So I'll, I'll, I'll stop there, but I, you know, consider myself really lucky and happy to be able to do what I do.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

We wanted to take a quick break to tell you about another climate tech podcast.


Well, literally.


Ryan Grant Little hosts a podcast called Another Climate Tech Podcast, where he interviews climate tech founders and VCs, which as I'm sure if you're listening to this podcast, you will love.


So we highly recommend checking him out.


The link will be in the description to this episode.


Now back to the show.


I think your diverseness is just about as chaotic as I'd like to be.


But ranging from investor to academic to policy to accelerator, that is a lot of different things.


Ironically, I think what likely has happened to you is even though that's super broad,


My guess, and you can let me know if I'm wrong, my guess is you've had to reject some opportunities along the way that are even, even outside of that crazy wide range.


So how did you isolate on these four?


And I, you know, I think I hinted this, maybe, how did you reject anything that wasn't these?


And why?


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

I mean, it's really kind of you.


I've also been rejected plenty of times, right?


So, you know, in business school, I,


I had a lot of friends who went to management consulting and banking and PE route.


And I, I tried to do the same for a bit and did not get anywhere at all with that.


So, so in some ways the market told me where that I shouldn't go in certain parts of, of the jobs kind of landscape.


But I think what, what has, I'm trying to think, it's a, it's a really good question and one that I'm probably not going to be able to give you the best answer for just yet.


But I, but I think on one hand, there's, there's usually a common denominator across all my jobs where the thing that I'm working on is, is, I mean, obviously focusing on climate and, and, and, and usually big impact in some shape or form.


But, you know, it's, it's usually like, they're not usually bringing me in because I think the same way as everybody else that they're working with already.


It's usually they say, well, look, we are, we are the investors and we need somebody that understands impact.


We, or we are the entrepreneurs and we need somebody that understands the way that, um, government functions, right.


Or we are development financiers or development economists, and we need somebody that knows how venture capitalists think.


And so, you know, in each one of those, I, I just kind of alter the lens that I'm using, but usually the lens that I'm using is never all that different than one that I'd use elsewhere.


Um,


I'll also say that I struggle with it too, right?


It's not like I have a perfect formula and every day works like clockwork.


I think that, you know, there's times where I'll get up in front of my class to teach and I'll say, wait a second, I don't, I don't think I've got a really good lecture today.


Right?


Like, I think I, I should have gone back and revised some things.


I should have spent more time practicing.


I should have ironed out a couple of things and you know, it goes fine usually fortunately, but you know.


We make mistakes, right?


And so same thing with, you know, my investing and same thing with advising, right?


Where, you know, it doesn't always go to plan.


I mean, there's tons of things where I'm like, I could have done that a lot better if I hadn't been spending so much time working on that other thing, because I get bored really easily and I have no choice but to start focusing on a bunch of things.


And so sometimes that works against you too.


What has been great is that in the past year or two, I've been able to build a lot of collaborations and partnerships with people that have similar lifestyles.


So at a bare minimum, we all kind of silently support each other's chaotic job descriptions.


And that gives me, that gives me a little bit of solace.


I'm like, maybe I'm doing something right here.


I'm not really sure, but, but yeah, it's a good question, man.


I hope that helps to clarify a little bit, but always can go deeper if need be.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

I mean, if you found other people that are doing it, then you're not the only one doing four different, five different things at the same time.


So it doesn't feel quite as lonely probably then.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Yeah, I think so.


And cause a lot of it is loneliness, right.


Or becoming comfortable with it, right.


With saying, you know, when I, especially in a town like DC, and this is fitting climate aside, but it's not uncommon, like introductory question you always get is, well, what do you do?


Right.


And so.


I'm already a wordy enough person that I'm going to have trouble describing just one job.


So I'll, to be fair, sometimes I just dodge the question entirely, or I make something up.


I mean, I moderated a panel a few weeks ago and somebody was like, what's your job?


And I was like, I don't have a full-time job.


And that was my answer.


And that kind of left it at that.


And I felt like they thought I was being kind of facetious, but I was like, no, it's actually, it's actually the truth.


And


You probably don't want to hear me give you like a five minute pitch on what I do.


And that's fine too.


Don't worry about it.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

You're probably measuring how much fun you're having by how long that answer is when they ask, Oh, what is it?


What is it?


And then you have to keep going on.


I think if anything, some of the best collaborations that we need out of climate are going to come out of the people who have experience in all these different fields.


If anything, that's a lot of what people are saying, which is the IRA and all the different climate legislation has made what we're doing something that investors, founders, policymakers,


Riffle Ventures Podcast Episode 139


So, starting off, I actually want to talk a little bit about the policy side, because I think that's going to be the best thing to put out in front, because I think it's the most different, at least for our audience.


So your experiences range from the World Bank to UNICEF, you spent some advisory time at Antler, and of course, even your work as a professor can interface with this and surface with this.


Given that you operate in a lot of ways, especially like you said, with the most enthusiasm towards venture and climate building and investing, how do these experiences inform those side of your roles?


And if you have any examples, I think it'd be great to hear just how these things have changed, how you thought.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Yeah, no, it's a, it's a great question.


And the one thing I'd add that I think is probably


Just as relevant, if not more, is, you know, I've done a fair bit of work directly with governments, not as a public sector employee, but as an advisor on either as an individual advisor or as part of a team.


And so that gives me a bit of insight into how government functions.


And it's, it's helpful for me, and I think it's helpful for others too, hopefully, in that, like, a, like a young early stage startup is only going to get so far.


without having some big entity come in, right, whether it be a big corporation or a government.


And usually, it's kind of one of those two in some shape or form, to open up access to a market, right?


And it doesn't mean that they are guaranteed to survive the valleys of death that startups experience because of that.


But it, it's a massive seal of approval, but just an enormous door opener, right?


So


I learned about that living and working in the Middle East, where the startup ecosystem when I was in that region was really nascent.


And I mean, now it's blossomed considerably, but at the beginning, you know, you had like maybe one fund per country, absolute maximum.


And usually it was like one fund serving like multiple countries.


So you didn't have this dynamic, robust ecosystem like you do in the US or in other countries.


So what I'm getting at here was that they started off with, you know, a lot of like,


kind of old, I wouldn't say old, but you know, kind of standard sort of models, you know, like e-commerce and apps and that kind of thing.


And, you know, the goal is to partner with a massive telecom provider, right?


Because you could get access to a critical mass of users that way, and you can move into multiple countries overnight that way.


And so knowing that there are entities out there with enormous market shaping power and knowing how to get to them, I think is


is so fundamental to the climate tech game.


And at the same time, when dealing with entrepreneurs and investors, and I, and I totally get where they're coming from.


There is this kind of allergy to working with government and like quasi-government organizations, right?


Like you say, you say government, they turn the other way.


You say world bank, they freak out, right?


You say UN, they're like, you're speaking a foreign language to me, right?


So, and I, and I get where they're coming from.


But at the same time with climate, I think we are just time and again reminded that we're not going to get anywhere if we don't have massive corporate and public sector entities coming on board here, right?


Like there's just no other way.


And the IRA is, it's, it's novel in so many ways, but one of them at a minimum is, is almost like a wake up call for those of us that were thinking this would be like a purely private sector technology driven


Um, voyage that there's a massive elephant in the room called the U S government that has just so much influence and we're not going to get anywhere without that.


And I think the interesting thing is that, and I think this is maybe tied to another question here is that.


It's also a really good reminder is that there's two sides that know how to work with each other, right?


Like there's a reason that, you know, they're holding events here in DC to kind of demystify working with the department of energy right now.


Right.


And it's, and it's


And it's not just because people like together in DC and go to happy hours.


It's, it's like, there is a, there's a blockage here, right.


Of, of, of, you know, two communities, let's say for lack of a better word that have historically not really hung out together.


Right.


Like your average, you know, economist or engineer or whomever in the DOE probably would not know how to best support a startup.


By the same token, your average entrepreneur is probably not going to say it.


I know how to navigate the corridors of the US government, right, or whichever government they're in.


And so it's this, you know, like sobering reminder of like, these two parties really, really need each other.


And neither is going to be able to fulfill their agenda without the other.


But traditionally, nobody's given them any practice on how to work with each other.


And so it's a fascinating equation, but also one that


It's also concerning at times too, right?


Because this is tantamount to being able to get these solutions into the market and scaling them.


And if we're not doing that, then we're not hitting our climate targets.


And so we have to pay a lot more attention, I think, to the dynamic between these different players.


Sure.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

There's, you know, something that I'm really, really interested in.


You brought this up a little bit in the beginning, which is, you know, partnering with telecom to give a little bit of, you know, maybe some background, especially on that.


If you look at East Africa, right, especially in a country like Kenya, where Safaricom exists, it's a big, massive telecom player that influences a lot of the innovation, entrepreneurial stuff that happens in that ecosystem.


Right, so there's an example of a context where you have this monopoly or like pseudo monopoly controlling a lot of innovation in a region.


And to me, I've always found that there is potentially a really, really clear parallel between developmental finance and how people put in developmental dollars and support that


and climate because essentially you're trying to de-risk through either non-dilutive or non-traditional financing methods and get things to market.


So I actually, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm going to be a little bit selfish on the time here.


I want to put that kind of at the forefront because that is a personal thesis of mine.


And so I want to know if you have any examples and your general thoughts on, you know, the parallels between developmental finance and climate tech financing.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

No, it's a good question.


And I would, as I was thinking about it ahead of time, another way I think of asking, or not asking an identical question, but a similar one is what can the world of like impact investments writ large kind of teach the world of climate tech VC or climate tech investing writ large.


And I think one of the big lessons was that not everything has venture like returns.


Very few companies in the world do, right?


Like.


Venture is a little bit of a hammer that treats the rest of the world as a nail.


And so, you know, already you're looking at a tiny subset of companies that you can truly invest in if you're pure VC.


Developmental finance, and I think impact investment to an extent says, look, there's a, there's a much bigger kind of sea of assets that we can invest in.


And as you said, rightfully so.


We're not going to have, we're not going to be able to use the exact same instrument to do that.


And sometimes it means we actually have to bring in multiple instruments, right?


Like a grant mixed with like concessional funding with like a, like a low interest loan and then some private equity on top so that you can, you know, round out the size of the, of the full ticket.


But at the same time, everybody gets adequately de-risked and protected in the event that things go belly up, right?


And I think we haven't gotten there yet in the climate tech space where we've started thinking about like at scale.


I think this thing, this is happening, but I don't think it's happening as, as kind of part of the norm, but thinking about like, how do these different types of capital interact?


Right.


Cause as I was saying earlier with, you know, kind of governments and startups, you're bringing together two worlds that typically don't know how to work with each other.


And if you bring in a commercial bank with a foundation or non-dilutive funding office at the government level with a group of angel investors and some project financiers and some investment bankers, like, yes, they're all deploying capital, but they have extremely different agendas and metrics to gauge success.


And so it is a lot of like herding cats that the development finance world has had to do.


And they've also had to work a lot with governments, right, because a group like the World Bank kind of exists to, to support governments around the world in some shape or form.


I mean, they don't call them, they don't refer to their mandate as that, but that's their main client.


development finances had to figure out how do we go into really, really hard to work in countries, relatively speaking, that, you know, don't have stock markets, they don't have like, they don't mean they may not recognize class A shares, right?


Like, there's a lot that your typical investor, you know, looks for when they, or they don't even think about really, when they're investing in like the US or EU, that you have to be hyper vigilant around when you're moving into emerging markets.


And I think the development finance world has


by definition done that, right?


Like they've proven that you can move capital into these countries.


It doesn't mean that you can make venture like returns, oftentimes you don't.


But it does mean that there are like people and companies worth backing.


And I think that


And again, you know, Climate VC is really constricted just a few countries of the world, right?


Like most VC when it comes to climate tech, if you leave the US and the EU, it kind of disappears, right?


I mean, you can include China and India in that, but still you've only added, I mean, two extremely big countries, but there's billions of people that are not at all a part of that ecosystem then.


And the development finance world, I think is done a


I think a relatively good job at showing that there's a role for finance in non-usual suspect countries, right, in developing countries.


And it, and it's one that is, requires usually a lot of patience, right?


It's not a quick turnaround.


And so again, VC has limitations on what it can do there.


But I would, anyway.


I'll pause there because I go on a ramble, but I would say those are some of the things.


But I'm happy to go a little bit deeper on this, especially if you want to make it a bigger focus of the conversation.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

Yeah, I mean, I would love to just round it up by asking if you have an example of a company that did this well.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

You mean like a development finance firm that did this?


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

You know, a finance firm that has had like a successful strategy or a company that's, you know, gotten the collective finance and scale to a private market.


Just in your experience, if you've worked or like either, you know, known pretty well, a company that's done well, given this whole structure.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Yeah.


So it could be like one that's like, we've got a grant to get off the ground and we raised like a round or two VC and then a project finance entity came in.


Yeah.


So.


I would need to do a little bit more thinking on like somebody that's put together like these different pieces, right?


These different instruments throughout their life cycle.


Cause that would, that would probably mean, you know, they're profitable now, or at least they've been around for a while that they've generated a fair bit of revenue and could use that to, you know, pay down some of the debt if that's what they're taking on.


Um, look, no, nobody in particular is coming to mind.


It's not because that they don't exist.


I know that they do.


It's just I'm blanking right now, but I think what you would probably find is that finding that type of company that's brought together all the different types of instruments is probably a unique phenomenon globally, in the sense that you're not going to find them, at least in climate tech, outside of probably like the US and EU, um, and maybe China.


And what I mean there is that too, it's a luxury to say, right?


Like, well, you know, when you're at this age of, of, of your growth, you can access this type of funding and, you know, then we'll bring in these other types of investors that we're very close with who, you know, co-invest in deals and they can write different types of checks.


You know, most countries don't have that.


Right.


And that's something that's really unique.


And I think wonderful about the market that you and I live and work in.


is that that diversity of capital is there, right?


Because if it wasn't, we probably wouldn't even be talking about diversifying the climate tech capital stack because we wouldn't, we wouldn't even know that it's possible, right?


And so I think that we're going to have to rely as much as we need to get solutions out the door to people that need them all around the world.


We need to be supporting companies in vulnerable markets as well.


I think a lot of the best practices on how to fund and get these companies to scale fast is probably going to come from higher income countries.


Where the development finance world comes in, though, is it's a mixture of the different instruments, but it's also just navigating more complex business environments, right?


Like


You know, there's a reason that people want to, like, set up shop in Delaware and Luxembourg and, like, the Cayman Islands, right?


Like, they're legal systems that people understand.


They're tried and tested over many, many decades.


There's a level of comfort and transparency that comes with it.


If you don't have that, right, transparency and trust, it's going to be very difficult to move money into the countries that historically have not gotten a lot of this funding.


And so,


Even if we're not going to be able to identify a case study in those countries of like a company that was able to raise a lot of different types of instruments, the development finance world is a good kind of proxy or platform or benchmark maybe to show that there are opportunities in these countries.


And as we help companies from say the US or EU or elsewhere, where we do have a more robust financial system to scale into these countries, right?


That's where I think we're really going to rely heavily on the development finance world, because that's their bread and butter and something that they, it's really hard to find anybody that can do it as well as they can, even though it can be a very difficult and convoluted process.


So that's where I think the two will kind of meet up most frequently.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

Now that's a really interesting perspective, because I think most people understand scaling within their own current context.


I feel like there's a lot of micro economies that have yet to figure out how to get, you know, a project financed.


And there's that unique challenge, but there's also the challenge of, okay, if you're trying to get


Jamil Aggarwal, Silas Mähner


Jamil Wyne


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Oh, I'll just say one thing that I would add on top of that is, you know, especially because you mentioned Elemental, you know, I think that they're unique in a lot of ways.


And one of the ways that I've come to really respect them is that they put a premium on building in this, like the concept of like equity and inclusion from like day one.


And it's not


It's not identical to necessarily reaching all vulnerable populations in the world, but the reason why I bring it up is that what we found in some of the work we were doing with Oxford, sorry, at Oxford was that, you know, most companies, and this was actually through a friend of mine, Eric Berlow, who's done, he's done, he did the research and then he was kind enough to let us use some of his data.


But very few companies that are getting backed by climate PCs right now have


built this concept of like equity and inclusion into the work they do.


Demonstrated that it, that theme is not a nice to have, but it must have.


And it's also one that you can integrate.


And I think that what we're finding, and this is again, like the development finance world, I think is, is a helpful kind of benchmark here is that if you don't put that in from day one, it's really hard to do it later.


And I think I hear so many companies say, well, eventually we're going to go into low-income communities, or we're going to move into emerging markets.


And I think they say it probably because they're interested in doing it eventually, but they, what they don't realize is that you have to basically re-engineer your company.


If you're going to make that move, you know, a decade into your lifespan, you know, there's a, you know, when it, I know it gets used a lot, but when


People would ask Yvon Chouinard from Patagonia, how did he do what he did, you know, building this company that had a, you know, wonderful work-life balance and was, was really respectful of nature and sustainable in more ways than one.


And he was like, well, I did it from the beginning.


Like I didn't do it several decades into the company, right.


Or several years into the company, this was always what I wanted to do.


And I think that that's, that's a good reminder.


of, of both what groups like Elemental are bringing to the table, but also the development finance world, because by definition, they have to see really, really clear additionality, right?


Like they don't usually get involved in things if it's just a plain old financing play.


Like they want to see multiple examples of additionality.


And I think that we could learn, you know, a thing or two from that as well.


Cause that, that's, that's something that's really critical, irrespective of what you're building.


Especially when it's in climate.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

Yeah.


And I think, you know, just like last thing I kind of want to say on that is that it's, if anything, the one thing I also do want to bring is that we're talking about sort of the developmental to climate financing route.


I also think with the amount of experimentation with deep tech, different fund strategies, different fund lengths, there's a good chance.


And I'm sort of keeping my eye out on a fund strategy that actually works the other way around that goes from.


Yeah.


So it, it, it came out like


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Kind of by mistake.


It was something that I, you know, I was, I had already taught, I think, for one semester here in DC, and I had an interest in continuing to teach.


And I was just thinking this could be a great way when I'm, you know, not teaching during the, I don't know, kind of part of my horizons a little bit while still using this kind of teaching muscle.


And I, a friend of mine from business school had invested in a company called CoLeap, which is a kind of subject agnostic ed tech company that helps people that are, you know, have some expertise build courses around that expertise, right?


So if you know, and that can apply to really, really wide range of different use cases, right?


We had, you know, CoLeap did the Climate Tech Bootcamp, but they also


um created something for for the no code space for leadership development for a wide range of different areas and so I you know by chance met them and you know through my to my friend who invested and without really knowing what we were going to get into said could we build a climate tech course on CoLeap and you know for a month or two we did some back and forth on


You know, who would the course be for?


What would it look like?


Um, what do we not want to do?


Right?


Because as you know, there's, there's lots of new platforms getting created to support climate, uh, entrepreneurs and, and people that are studying climate, et cetera, or want to work on climate.


And I didn't really put a lot of thought into that.


And then one day somebody said, well, this feels like less of a course and more of a bootcamp.


And I said, okay, that sounds good.


And they said, well, what are we going to call it?


And I was like, maybe just call it the Climate Tech Bootcamp, I suppose.


And it was, it was done in a very, um, like having worked with people now that are really skilled at design and brand.


I did the exact opposite.


I didn't, I didn't think it, I didn't think about like, well, what do we want to call this thing?


What do we want it to represent?


What is it going to do?


Like we didn't, we didn't really have those answers, but I think that the real big forcing function for me was, um,


When we put out our applications, which were done in August of 2022 was when we did our first round.


Cause our first cohort was in September of that year, which had so many interesting people apply and really, really impressive backgrounds.


And they were all coming from around different parts of the world and wanted to learn.


And I was really, really moved by it because it just was this reminder of like, one, like talent is


everywhere, right?


And there is so much need to build right now, even if you have nothing to do with the country that is, you know, is on the front lines of the crisis, like you just know that there's so many solutions that need to get made by local entrepreneurs and innovators.


And so I, by then I was like, okay, this is not a course any longer.


It's a bootcamp.


And we're apparently calling it the Climate Tech Bootcamp.


And I was like, I got to go out and find


instructors, because, again, I was like, okay, if if these people are if these people like that caliber are applying, they're not going to want to listen to me for four weeks, they're going to want to hear from like specialists.


And so I was like, okay, again, like, change of plans, guys, it's not going to be me running this any longer, I'm going to bring in people.


And then the more I got to know them, I said, Wait a second, like the instructors are not enough either as amazing as they are.


I mean, we'd like we've always lucked out with great instructors.


But I said, look, these, these entrepreneurs, I kind of went back to my roots of working with entrepreneurs directly.


And it was like, they need mentors.


Right.


And they don't want to listen to me.


Right.


They need to sit with people that really have invested, you know, five, 10, 15 years of their careers in a certain vertical that that person is trying to build in.


And so by the time the first cohort was finished, which was October of, of 22, I said, all right, well, this is.


Not a side hustle any longer.


It's not something that I can take lightly.


It's something that I really enjoy doing, but also it seems like others want to do it too.


And so I had to put on the entrepreneur's hat, right?


I was not a teacher.


I was actually a builder.


And I said, wait a second.


I accidentally became an entrepreneur, I think.


And so, I don't know.


It's just, I guess, an example that there's.


There's always a lot of doors out there that can be opened or walked through if you have the right people surrounding you and vice versa.


And this was chance and fortuitous, but I, I'm so grateful that it turned out the way it did.


Anyway, that's a long way of answering a short question.


I think sorry, but.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

You very much found a need, addressed it, and didn't even realize you did until you were in the thick of it.


I know you stumbled upon being a founder in that way, but I think most founders would probably have preferred it that way.


So if anything, I think it's just an emphasis of like, hey, this is a different way of being a founder.


Could be more effective, but probably not.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

I mean, I think that one thing that I've learned in this, and this would be maybe something we want to chat about a little bit later.


But just, you know, advice for founders, like there's no, I think all of us that have ever tried to create something, whether it be like a small side project or envision a company that you're really passionate about, have probably gone through like an extensive brainstorming slash like daydreaming process, right?


Where you just kind of


Picture all the bells and whistles that you want to see on this thing, right?


Almost like to the point where we're not even thinking about how is this thing going to make money?


It's more, I just want to create this amazing thing, right?


And so it can, it can look like a product.


It can look like an entity of some kind or, you know, vehicle.


I mean, we're very creative, average, and imaginative people, but this has been so good at forcing me to stop doing that because it doesn't matter what my vision is.


There's something called the market out there that will ultimately decide whether what I have in my head is going to count or not.


And so even if it's something that's small, like the bootcamp has a market and has an audience.


And as soon as they say they don't want it, you either change or go away.


You don't just keep trying to do it.


Right.


And so that's been another thing that I've learned through doing it.


Like.


You're serving somebody, right?


And you need to make sure that you do your best to support them, which is very easy to forget when you're trying to concoct a vision and be creative, right?


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

I want to get into something that you would have learned from being in that position.


So you now have this, you know, Climate Tech Bootcamp, right?


Aptly named or not aptly named.


I think it's a great name.


You know, if I think about Climate Tech Bootcamp, like, oh, the Climate Tech Bootcamp.


Like, it's fitting.


When you were designing your curriculum and picking your speakers, you're doing it to serve a need for founders, like you said.


So can you walk me through essentially, I guess, like itemized by itemized, what are the things that you're addressing with your speaker series?


Like what are the topic areas and weaknesses that you're trying to provide guidance?


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Yeah, definitely.


So, and some of the things that we're providing guidance on, like I am very much still a learner in myself.


But, and so I kind of get to cheat by participating in the bootcamp as well and, and, and learning from the instructors as we go.


But the, the way I think we've tried to do it, or thinking about, I guess, kind of two, two big questions at the same time, which aren't rocket science, but you know, one of them of course, is what does like in that first six to 12 months of an entrepreneur's life, when they're like truly saying, Hey, I'm building this thing.


What do they need?


Right.


And everybody always says funding.


Usually it's not funding.


It's always, it's oftentimes a mixture of like really understanding the problem that you're solving.


Being able to kind of empathize with the customer and know exactly kind of who they are and what pain point you're addressing for them and how many of them exist.


Right.


And then having a story to tell about why.


You solving that problem is, is necessary, right?


Like these things that we accept as givens when we see companies, right?


Because we don't interact with these companies usually until they've already gone through that process.


And so that was one big bucket of just like the, the less attractive, but super tactical things they need to get good at fast because no investor would be interested in touching them if they don't have answers to these things.


or, or, you know, other types of, you know, resources, including hires.


The other question is then within that bucket, that first bucket, what, what, what if, what happens when we apply like a climate filter to it?


Meaning that everybody, no matter what you're building is going to have to think about the problem you're solving, et cetera.


But like, what makes it you, it's like nobody in working in climate is actually solving climate change per se.


It's like usually solving like


a symptom of it, right?


Or something that's related to it that puts more weight on the shoulders of the world.


But none of us are actively like, reversing the temperature of the earth right now, right?


It's it's we're either trying to stop the bleeding a little bit or minimize the damage or prepare for further damage, right?


And so helping people understand what their solution set looks like within that massive


global existential crisis is, is unique, I think, to climate.


And then the other thing that we emphasize is impact measurement.


So, so, so for the first one, it's taught by Suma Reddy.


She's absolutely phenomenal.


She's my co-founder at Riffle.


She's the one who, I was looking at some of your questions, Somil, I was like, you got to ask Suma this.


She knows a lot better than me.


I ride off of her coattails, but she's very generous with that.


So she teaches those.


Danny Valenzuela, who's our impact measurement instructor.


And that was the second bucket that I wanted to emphasize is that in climate, it's not good enough to say, Oh, because I work on energy or because I work on ag or because I work on the built environment or GHGs factor into somehow.


It's not, it's not going to cut it.


Right.


And I think it's something that like the climate tech world can learn from the development and impact investment world that they


to a fault emphasize impact measurement, right, where they'll say, I need to know, in very, very precise detail, like, who is the end beneficiary here?


Like, that's how they talk about in the development world, like, who is the end beneficiary?


What's their current state?


How does this intervention add value on top of that?


What would it look like if you were not here at all, right?


They love to talk about this concept of like additionality, right?


Which I think you see in the nature-based solution space, not as much in like the climate tech, energy and transportation, et cetera, verticals.


And so having somebody like Danny that is looking at both thousands of deals, cause he's at World Fund, which is one of the EU's most active VCs.


But at the same time, he can apply this really unique like mathematic slash climate lens that very few people can and like get to an answer.


And I think it's invaluable to be able to listen to what somebody like him can, can say and do that.


You're probably never going to find out if you're actually pitching to him, right?


Like he's not going to walk you through the methodology.


He's going to say yes or no, and maybe give you a couple of feed bits of feedback.


That's it.


Then we have Nina Ali, who is a climate tech sales guru.


And I think what we're learning through working with her, or one of the things,


is that when you're trying to sell in climate, yes, you know, some of the products might resemble, you know, standard SaaS sales.


And, and that's great because we've got a lot of muscle memory, I think, around that.


But when you're selling to, you know, you're selling like decarbonized steel to a corporation, like that's a unique process.


And, or you're trying to sell some type of like MRV technology to a, you know, a lumber company, right?


I don't know.


Right.


I'm just making this up.


Um, so having somebody like Nia that's worked at Siemens, worked at Elemental, coached countless climate tech entrepreneurs on their sales strategy to say like, look, here's what you've got to do.


Here's what you don't got to do.


Right?


Like really straightforward.


I think that that's, that's amazing.


And then, you know, Suma is a founder herself.


In addition to her, we bring in other founders.


So Anka Tamofte, who's a, who's at Breakthrough, uh, Shabazz Unni, who's at Elemental.


I'm sorry, Shabazz Stewart of Unni, who's at Elemental.


You know, getting to sit for like an hour, hour and a half and just ask them questions, I think is wonderful.


Even so in their cases, we don't really have like a, a curriculum that they follow.


It's more, tell us your story and we're going to ask you questions about it.


Cause we want to learn from you.


But then we're also realizing that there's certain things that like, doesn't really matter if they're climate or not.


So we've really benefited a lot from somebody named Scott Ford, who's the former COO of Techstars.


He, he, he doesn't work in climate, but I mean, obviously as being the CEO of Techstars, he, he's been seeing a critical mass of early stage founder challenges and his, one of his big skill sets is building like accountability systems and transparency and processes.


And so getting again, like 45 to 60 minutes in with him, with people just ask him questions is, is I think really, really important and it's not real and it's not


I think my goal by the end of this is to let you know that I appreciate those answers and if we get you to stop and then we've done it well.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

No, that's like the context.


I mean, the diversity of people on it obviously is like commendable.


And I think that illustrates the kind of things that founders need to hear.


I am going to put you on the spot right now.


I know I said I wasn't going to, but I'm going to put you on the spot right now.


What is the thing, the topic that you don't think you have the resources to provide help in, in your bootcamp?


Right?


So like, you think that this is an issue, you know, it's an issue, but you don't really have the fit yet to alleviate that issue.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

So I think it's an awesome question.


Um, so I think there's two categories of things that we want to be able to do, but we can't.


One of those, I don't think we'll ever be able to do one.


The other one I think is more in reach, but, um, so first would be everybody wants obviously some type of funding, right?


Preferably something non dilutive.


Um, and.


It's not so much that we would never raise a fund.


I could see that happening at some point once we have enough of a track record and bring on the right team for it.


But I don't, I think, like the idea of saying, well, everybody gets funding or you're guaranteed some type of a check at the end.


I just feel like


It creates the wrong incentive, maybe, because what I think I'd rather see them do, I mean, this is selfish, but I'd rather see them learn a lot and get really well versed in the issues that we're teaching them about, but also build a lot of relationships with the cohort and the instructors and the mentors and me, of course, too, because I think that will provide a lot more value.


I know it sounds a little bit unsubstantive to say, like,


Relationships will take you and community will take you further than money.


It's far easier said than done when you're trying to fundraise.


But I do think that that creates a foundation that's a lot more powerful than like a 50K grant would.


The other thing that I think we are, and again, you know, I don't know if it's something that we can do easily, but I could see it happening a little bit more organically is a lot of people want to find a co-founder, right?


Like building a company is extremely lonely and unforgiving and getting that person with you that, you know, it's not just there for moral support, but they, you know, just by virtue of showing up and working hard, they subconsciously reassure you that you're on the right track, at least for now.


And people often ask us like, can you help me find that co-founder?


Right.


And.


One reason why I say no is that I don't know if I have enough faith in any methodology.


Anytime I found people that I really like working with, it's random.


The reason why I work with Suma is not because I filled out a personality test and submitted it and somebody matched me to her.


It was just randomly met and we found out that we really appreciate each other and want to work together.


So I'm a little skeptical in anybody that


can like do proper matchmaking and but I do think that we get closer by virtue of having amazing mentors in our in our community like that to me and the instructors um has and obviously the people that apply so I guess everything has been the the biggest kind of tailwind for me personally just showing seeing them being willing to work with the entrepreneurs and so


I think that by virtue of having them around and benefiting even from 30 minutes of their time every few months, it optimizes the chances that we'll connect the dots on the co-founder front.


The last thing that I think that we're going to struggle to be able to provide is like direct access to customers, because I would rather see that be an outcome than funding.


or even finding a co-founder.


Like, I think that if you can demonstrate that the market really, really wants what you're building, um, that nothing really can replace that.


And it's the best type of funding there is.


And it's also probably one of the best ways to hire employees, right?


Say, you know, sounds great when you can tell people that you're generating revenue and even approaching to break even.


So, so us being able to do that, I think is going to be tricky.


The other thing, and now I'm thinking about all these things, you've put me on the spot, but I guess I have a lot of, I have a lot of unconscious thoughts on this.


I think another thing that's, that I want to get better at, and I want to find people that are really good at this too.


And I'm sure there's some methodologies out there and maybe things we can learn from like non-climate types of organizations, but how do you get somebody that's super sharp, right?


Like they either have deep subject matter expertise.


like coupled with like a builder's mindset, or they're just a hardcore builder and they will bang their head against the wall until they're able to, you know, break through and build this amazing piece of hardware on the other side of it.


Right.


And so how do you find a person like that and minimize the time needed for them to get off the ground?


Um, so for instance, if, you know, we we've had multiple PhDs come through, I'll just use them as an example.


Where I'm like, this person is, you know, probably has made, you know, amazing grades throughout their life.


They are probably in a small cohort of very, very seasoned experts.


This person knows their stuff inside and out, right?


Like they, they've taken education extremely seriously in their life, right?


And done well academically.


Um, and like I said, like they've been super talented, right?


They've come out of like Columbia and Stanford and UCLA, right?


Like PhDs from these types of schools.


So you know that they're not casual about their approach to learning.


And they're also usually very dedicated to their field, right?


So they, the idea of building something isn't even if it's a foreign function, it's not necessarily a foreign level of like emotional commitment, I think.


And so how do you take that person and


you know, minimize the time needed to acquaint them with, this is what accounting is, and this is why you need to build a PowerPoint slide, right?


Like, and how you tell a story and not get too bogged down in the science, right?


Like, how do you teach them all of this, but not to the point where it becomes an obstruction to them getting to the next milestone?


That's something that I really want to get better at, because I think that in a lot of ways, if we can figure that out, we can


The Bootcamp can help people, but I think others can also do that too, because we're in dire need of it, I think, globally right now.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

I mean, some examples of that are like commercialization fellowships within these PhD programs.


I know those are some examples, like Cornell University, my alma mater, they have a commercialization fellowship within their PhD program.


You know, I can't really speak to the quality of the education on that front, because I think a lot of what you're saying is, it's not just about the money and the backing, it's about the mindset and getting them to get into the builder mode.


Um, but I do think that there likely are some examples out there that maybe just haven't been scaled.


Um, also because there's always, I feel like, especially, you know, with other guests that we've had that have come from academic backgrounds, they often describe themselves as the outlier.


So how do you empower an outlier given, you know, definitionally it's an outlier.


So how do you systematically get more people to even think about being a builder?


Um, because they probably put, you know, X, Y, Z number of years into being an academic.


And so they're probably, you know, pretty married to their vision.


So I do think, you know, that maybe, you know, to the audience, if anyone has an idea, please shoot it our way or any good examples.


Cause I think that's something where it probably just takes someone figuring out the unit and economics about how a program like that could scale or how to get the right funder behind building up that curriculum.


I think that's a pretty good opportunity, if anything, maybe it's like the climate tech bootcamp for academics, right?


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Well, yeah, we are looking at other models.


We hadn't thought about that one.


No, but I think you're, I think you're onto something there, right?


Like, I think that the process exists and it's probably something that would be at like a top tier university, right.


Or, or at least an extremely well-funded one, right.


That can say like, we, we not only have high quality PhDs, but we have these interesting, you know, launch pads or accelerator tracks that they can go down to commercialize what they're building.


And I think that to build off of what you said there.


To me, the question then becomes, how do you do that?


Well, one at scale so that you can absorb more talent within those universities, but also how do you do it at most of the universities that don't have that kind of funding, right?


And don't have those resources they can pull from because we, because the talent is still there, right?


It's just that they're not provided that on-ramp or even incentive to do it.


Because even when we get them at the bootcamp, it's, it's kind of predicated on the fact that this person wants


to do this right and, and can access it.


And we have to remind ourselves that we're wanting a really tiny fish in a big pond, but also like, there's a lot of people out there that we don't know how to reach yet.


And so it all plays into this.


So anyway, I'm glad that you brought that up.


That's a good point.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

You know, I might I feel like there's a bunch of other things we could talk about, especially because the the inside of talking to a lot of climate tech founders and also solving those problems is super valuable.


I do want to talk a little bit about Riffle Ventures before we get too far in.


And just to sort of establish, you know, you know, for the audience, especially,


You know, Riffle, just a bit of a background.


Riffle Ventures is not a traditional VC.


It is a venture builder and advisory.


So could you talk me through what you actually do in that role?


Cause we've had some people who have different takes on being an accelerator or a venture builder.


Each person kind of defines it in their own way based on how involved they want to be in the startup.


So what is your model at Riffle Ventures and why?


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

So,


I think a very good question.


One that I, to be fair, I think we're still hashing out a little bit because what we, what we are at the moment is a kind of half, well, as you said, half venture builder, where there is a company that is in the climate tech space.


It's an ag tech firm called Gather that was founded by Suma, my co-founder at Riffle.


And so that will be effectively Riffle's first venture.


Um, it's, it's, uh, being supported also by Elemental.


Um, so you might even have encountered them through some of your work there.


Um, also recently went through the G beta accelerator that generator operates and so has a working prototype.


And so there's, there's a, you know, couple of key early stage milestones that.


That the company has already hit, um, with, you know, some support from Riffle, but mainly just, you know, because Zuma is an awesome builder.


Um.


And, and I think that that'll hopefully build a bit of a blueprint that will follow for our next one.


Right.


You know, having, having an amazing founder, but also being able to tap into the ecosystem players like Elemental and Generator and whatnot for support.


And related to that is obviously the advisory side of the shop.


And, and that is the one that has a lot of tentacles right now.


You know, on one hand, we are helping to set up.


a studio.


So we're working with a team in West Africa.


They're based in Senegal to create what is called Dorewa, which is the first climate studio in West Africa.


There's an amazing team on the ground right now called Haske Ventures that we've partnered with.


They've been operating a studio in the region for a couple of years now.


And so there's awesome colleagues and partners already on the ground, but at the same time, it's a


an example how we don't have to be because of that, you know, the operator of that studio, we can support in developing the concept and getting off the ground.


And at the same time, though, what we're finding is that, and this is where the advisory work gets a little more complicated, but also I think a lot of fun is that because it's a newer model, right?


Like, yes, people have heard about studios and it's not the first time anybody has said a climate studio, but


It's a young enough field that most people would not be able to walk you through how they worked, right?


And that's totally fine.


It's just a function of the age we're at or in this life cycle.


And where I was going with that is, because it's still a little bit of a nascent force,


You know, running around the world talking about studios and trying to start them is probably not going to get met with a ton of demand right off the bat.


So what we're thinking is that there's, you know, multiple steps that an organization will need to take before they get to that point.


And that could mean everything from


building a series of workshops for them, working with their current entrepreneurs that maybe are in an accelerator rather than a studio, just to help understand what they need to then kind of work backwards and build a studio strategy out of it.


I'm working on a piece of research for a local government to understand kind of where and how they could be building more innovative either funds or company building models to support climate goals in their region, right, which could then eventually become a studio.


And the other thing that we're doing on that front is we're going to be at COP28, which we're really excited for, to actually run a couple sessions on a couple of different days around new models for building companies.


And we'll also do a session on the climate technology adaptation set, as well as the role of inclusion in climate tech, and also one on demystifying the climate tech capital stack.


And so in each one of these cases, like Riffle is the group that's convening these different sessions that we've brought in some really amazing experts from around the world that are going to be speaking at the, at these events.


And I think in a lot of ways, the themes we cover, the types of people we're bringing in are just representative of what the kind of work that we want to be doing in the future.


So even though it's not a direct advising or company building activity, it's one that I think.


is kind of stating the broad vision for what we want the company to be, but also what we hope will attract other partners that align with us.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

You know, before we before we circle back to that, because you also posted a flagship, like content piece on Venture Studios.


So I think there's a lot of really cool things that I'd love to learn about, you know, the decision making there.


You mentioned COP 28.


And I actually want to get your perspective, given that you are, you have like some expertise in this, but not from a traditional oil and gas angle.


COP 28 is going to be held in Dubai.


And I think that really raises some interesting questions that have been discourse on LinkedIn, and with general thought leaders about holding


Jamil Wyne


You know, one of our guests, Eli from Siemens Energy Ventures, was a EIR at BP.


So he basically talked about how that's sort of a necessary thing you need to do.


Do you have, what is your perspective on, especially when you're there, when you're, how do you look at the fact that COP28 is in Dubai?


And how does that at all inform how you're going about your conversations?


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Yeah, I'm, I'm 100% with you that, that there's a lot of questions and, um,


And I would say actually questions slash like accusations, right?


Like, like around the optics, at least.


And I can totally see where they're coming from, right?


The, you know, the Gulf in particular is synonymous with oil production.


And not just any old fashioned oil production, but you know, putting it in, you know, top five, top 10 per capita oil producers in the world, right?


Like these are global leaders in that space.


The way that I rationalize it is, on one hand, I mean, and this isn't the core reason, but I mean, on one hand, like, US is still the biggest oil producer in the world.


And Canada is up there, Norway is up there, Brazil is up there, Mexico is up there, right?


Like, China, Russia.


So these are all non-Middle Eastern countries that are


just as significant, I think, in global oil production.


So I don't think the argument of they're a massive oil producer, and therefore, COP28 should not be there is really going to hold water if you look at the story from that angle.


The other thing is, I think that we don't have the luxury and climate of saying,


Well, we're only going to work with some types of entities and we're going to isolate others, right?


It, it's not like FinTech or EdTech or HealthTech where you can kind of cordon off the parts of the world that you don't want to engage in because it doesn't make business sense.


Climate is indiscriminate of borders.


And so to say that, um, I think, uh, you know, what one,


One country or a group of countries with certain characteristics should not be allowed to participate because that I think it just, it'll create more problems than it solves.


Similar, not to, not to put words in Eli's mouth, but I think similar to what he was saying was like, there isn't a green transition without oil coming on board, right?


Like, if you isolate BP, if you isolate Shell, if you isolate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, you're


You're turning a blind eye to a massive portion of the global population and market, right?


Like you just, we're not going to get there without that.


And I know, and that's one of the things that like the development finance world, I think can teach the climate tech world a little bit.


Like you have to make some compromises because otherwise you're going to not, you're going to try to create a vision of a reality that isn't really practical for anybody, but maybe a small bubble that you're a part of.


Um,


And I guess the ultimate like, gotcha response for that.


I'm like, okay, if you don't want to go to Dubai, because they're a major oil producer, who do you think set up that oil field to begin with, right?


It's not like they had a pre-existing fossil fuel manufacturing and operating skill set in these countries, like the Americans and


The British flew out there and set them up hand in hand with them.


Right.


And I think they probably have, you know, pretty large say in, in how they get run still, I would assume to some degree.


So I, I get like the optics don't necessarily look great, but I, if you just do a little bit of extra reading and thinking it, it, I don't think of us having much of a choice.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

I mean, you can imagine that like the clear comparison, I think even within the US, you talk about the US being the major oil producer, the clear comparison within the US is that Texas right now is the quickest to electrify of any state.


And I think people haven't really conceptualized what that means.


Jamil


Of course, that's not to take away from the criticism and, you know, maybe some of the suggestions about how things could be better.


But I think it's a very humbling perspective the way you put it that like, hey, like as much enthusiasm as you might have for the IRA, if the US is the, you know, the biggest producer of oil in the world, you know, it's the similar concept.


And so turning a blind eye to one, you shouldn't ignore that ignorance for the other.


I think just that mindset is good to have because I think it's going to be, there probably will be some controversy coming out of the conference and people are going to try and say things.


I think it's for a lot of the climate builders and investors out there who are trying to work through all of that noise.


I think it's a good North Star to just say like, hey, there isn't actually anything that controversial in this day and age about what's going on.


You just kind of have to treat it as an opportunity.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Yeah, and I think we also need to show them some appreciation here because if you think about it, and I don't think anybody's really keeping an eye on this probably except for like a handful of us, but before COP 28 came to the UAE and maybe even before Egypt, like you didn't have anybody thinking about like climate tech accelerators in the Middle East, right?


Like you didn't have New Energy Nexus creating partnerships on the ground with


with accelerators and government entities, right?


And you didn't have Saudi Aramco launching a climate venture studio, right?


And I'm not saying that all of these new initiatives are going to be profitable, bear fruit in any way, right?


I mean, it's, everything's still early.


And there's a lot of learning that has to happen, a lot of failing that has to happen for them to get better at it, just like we're doing over here.


But none of that would have happened without COP.


And we forget that it's in a region that is home to at least 10 of the most water-scarce countries in the world, right?


Like if you don't impact, as I know, as controversial as some of these countries may be, like without engaging with them, you're not going to get this green transition to happen globally.


And there could actually be a lot of damage and fallout that comes as a result.


We are now seeing very tangible changes in the level of commitment that leaders both in the public private sector in the region are making to climate.


It says a lot when these groups that had never thought about it before are launching like substantive programming around.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

Definitely.


I think that's like, you know, I actually am not as educated on that.


I definitely think I'll be looking into that.


And I think it just feeds on the idea of community building and putting it in front of you and


Jamil Wyne Climate Tech Bootcamp


Jamil Wyne


Our very own guest, you have put out today your report, as far as I know, I saw it today on the climate tech opportunity.


So for a bit of background, this is a report published by the Oxford Climate Tech Initiative.


You are the lead on this paper.


I've only had a chance to read it briefly, you know, before we were able to record because it came out quite literally today.


What I'd love to do is I'd love to go through the different sectors that you divided it across and just hear your sort of one to two minute synopsis about why the most promising opportunity is listed as the most promising opportunity.


That probably means I'm going to have to remember what we said in the report.


I think, why don't we start with energy and then we can just take it from.


So within energy, you had written the most promising opportunity to be storage and grid management.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Yeah.


Yeah.


Yeah.


And I think it's good to keep in mind that this was primarily from like a U S and EU lens.


Cause a lot of the people we surveyed were from there.


When we interviewed people, we interviewed them from a broader population set.


Um, but I just wanted to clarify the, the kind of the vantage point.


Well, I, and so I think that one, well, one key reason that I think


on the battery front is that obviously in the US like the IRA has created really unprecedented incentives to invest in renewables across the board and batteries are just kind of front and center, right?


It's like that almost like a leverage point, right, in the entire renewable system.


And so I think that makes it makes a clear case.


And I think on the grid management front, we didn't talk to as many groups that were that were focusing on that element in particular.


But I think again,


because there is an opportunity both for hardware and software to integrate into grids, right?


For, for a mixture of, um, obviously updating, updating infrastructure, but also monitoring performance of infrastructure.


Um, I think that that obviously has massive market reach from the get go, and you're going to have, uh, applicability across sometimes multiple states in one shot.


And so, so I think it makes a lot of sense to, at least from, from the U S perspective on that front.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

The next section is transportation.


And so in this one, the report identifies, you know, batteries, fuel cells, and smart infrastructure.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Yeah.


So on the batteries and admit, I am, I am not really well versed on the fuel cells front, but I would say similar answer applies for, for batteries here.


Obviously like an uptick in EVs.


both IRA, but also just other automakers, sorry, automobile makers coming on board and producing EVs.


I think puts that again, front and center can't really operate as a sector without it.


When it comes to the smart city, I think this is one of the things that I think is really interesting about groups like Elemental that have like a broader definition of what climate tech is, where you may, a lot of us may not necessarily think that the ways like a city is designed or planned and actually in a, you know, managed


Um, has anything to do with climate, but obviously it impacts, you know, the amount of energy that's used and, uh, the amount of waste that's created.


And so I think that as cities, especially like large metro areas in like the U S and EU become not just, um, uh, kind of more open and enabling at a private level, but also the public sector puts policy in place.


It's similar to the IRA creates tailwind to like quote, quote, unquote, like decarbonize, but also climate proof cities.


And so.


I think it's another reason why that plays such a big role here.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

The third sector is food and agriculture.


And so the topic, the topics here were land use management and alternative foods, you know, specifically, I think, low, low greenhouse gas production proteins.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Yeah.


Yeah.


I think that I'll go with the second one as I guess the one that's more top of mind, but, but, but I think,


So the way I see it is it's not too dissimilar from some of the other sectors that we looked at in the sense that there's this kind of like core asset that sits in the middle of the entire thing, right?


It's the, you know, that livestock, right?


Or that, you know, the, or the food that I guess that it goes on to become.


And so it's like a very, it's very tangible.


It's in a legacy industry.


People can see, I think the economics starting to work in their favor as well.


And so I think that mixture of it being something that has like a familiar look and feel to us, right?


The food industry is something that's embedded in the economy and you can tie it directly to kind of health and economic well-being.


I think it's easier to make a good story around that.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

Recycling and Circular Economy


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

I kind of struggle with not in the sense that I'm that I'm not a fan.


I think it's it's incredible and much needed, but I feel like I'm a lot better at identifying repeatable use rather than circular use cases, right?


Where and so so that in one way for me was was was an area where I was like, okay, I think I need to dive a little bit deeper myself in it.


But I think one reason why it shows up is that there's just in a growing appreciation for the methodology


The Climate Tech Opportunity, Riffle Ventures


Um, and then what was the second one?


I forgot.


Cement.


Concrete and cement.


Oh, of course.


Of course.


Who can, who can forget cement?


So I think that the fact that there has been a very like successful and present, or I'd actually want to comment on the success.


I don't know enough about how the sector has performed as a whole, but I think it, it seems to be one that's like attracting a lot of talent and capital is, is the PropTech space.


And so I think that people have enough trust in kind of this intersection of VC and real estate on one hand.


The other is that just the product itself, you know, decarbonized cement or concrete, I think there's more and more like mature companies.


It's less of a science experiment, uh, or sorry, it's less of a project or, you know, that you'd find in an R&D lab and more of one where somebody says, well, I'm actually physically creating and selling them right now.


Um, so it shows just a kind of a turning point in the market readiness, but also kind of a movement up that user adoption curve.


And so I think that you see that and you say, okay, well, this means that it's getting de-risked.


Um, it's demand is massive and we've already built.


I wish we could keep talking about them, but I, cause I think that part that you brought up is pretty interesting, but the next sector is the built environment.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

And so the main categories here were heating and cooling and energy efficiency.


Like it seems like within construction.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Yeah.


So I think on the energy efficiency front, we have a, I think sometimes people view energy efficiency unfairly where they'll say, well, it's not, it's not like sucking carbon out of the air.


And it's, it's not a completely necessarily like enabling renewable energy.


It's just maybe reducing consumption.


So can you claim that it has a really powerful mitigation effect?


And I think what I would say there is that.


It's a fantastic entry point, I think, for enabling, um, of like wire scale decarbonization.


Um, because it's, it's something that's been around for a while, right?


Like Nest wasn't the first, but I think it was probably one of the first ones where people started to really be mindful of, of like how you could have this very easy to use hardware in your home that reduces your, effectively reduces your energy bill.


Um, excuse me.


So I think we've seen it before in,


smaller cases like that, but then we've realized that there's a really clear economic story that you can tie to it, where you can say, well, if you turn the knob down by this much, it takes this much off your bill and you get money back.


Right.


Obviously that's not a powerful case for everybody though.


Um, and so I think what we're finding is that kind of, as you somewhere, as I said, the kind of energy efficiency being a nice kind of Trojan horse.


for, for like greater decarbonization efforts.


It's like, once you demystify the, what, what, you know, now becoming kind of commonplace use cases, you'll, I think you're going to find a lot more new business models that open up because then you're going to be moving into other parts of the real estate sector that we probably haven't had a chance to think about really critically yet.


And so that's where I think would be really interesting.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

The second to last category, so we're making it we're making our way through it is greenhouse gas capture, use and removal.


And so the most promising opportunities here were forestation, and habitat restoration.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

So that this is a really interesting one.


And I hope more people get a chance to comment and think about this one.


So I think most of us would probably say, oh, it's actually direct air capture and, and, you know, different types of carbon sequestration technologies and


for whatever reason that that didn't show up at the top.


I think some of that is due to the fact maybe that the people that we surveyed had a maybe a bit more of a leaning than we realized towards nature based solutions.


But I think what, what, you know, more optimistically, I think that it shows how the market is waking up to it.


You know, I think historically,


When we heard about the deforestation challenges, we thought those were issues that philanthropy and charity and government should address.


And I don't think any investors saw any business case whatsoever in it.


And I think that that didn't mean, though, that people didn't care about nature, right, and didn't think of themselves as a steward of nature in some way.


It just meant that we had fewer tools that we could use to protect it from a finance angle.


And so I think now that people are realizing that there are not just instruments, but also like use cases that we can point to and say, or sorry, or case studies that we can point to and say actually worked in this country.


It's helping us, I think, kind of reunite with that, like,


that sensibility that we want to be protecting nature and doing something about it, but we never had the toolkit to do so.


And I think optimistically, I think that's getting reflected in investors eyes too.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

Yeah.


I just want to touch on that a little bit and say, I think that is valid in the sense that like, that wasn't always what people thought about.


I think, you know, I'm a remote sensing enthusiast and I think that's especially hot in remote sensing is tracking deforestation, reforestation.


How do you tie in credit to that?


So I broke my rule just to contribute that, but I'll do it for the geospatial side.


Um, the last one, last one where we're basically there is the managing and reporting sector.


So this, uh, the identified opportunities are emissions data monitoring and management.


Yeah.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

So I think that this one, um, you know, up until maybe like six, 12 months ago, I wouldn't have thought it was that important.


Uh, but the more I learned about the sector, but also just talk to more people about


The process of corporations decarbonizing them where I, I, you know, just like a lot of us now realize that it's, it's goes far beyond, you know, carbon offsets.


And there needs to be a very kind of firm wide, hyper-disciplined, highly accountable strategy in place that touches essentially every node in the company.


And so that doesn't happen without being


very, very rigorously monitored and measured and benchmarked.


And so I think that as reassuring as it is to see, you know, 400 plus corporations around the world make these declarations to be net zero by, I think, was it 20, 2040 or 2050?


You know, we got to remember that they don't have necessarily a strategy in place to get there yet.


And so I think the monitoring and reporting is, is kind of front and center to that because it's the group that's going to help


Jamil Wyne


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

But we are coming up towards the end of the show.


So I think there's only time for about one or two more questions.


But I just want to again, thank you for going through all of that.


That again, for the audience, we're recording this, of course, in advance, so it'll likely would have circulated you like would have read it and been super impressed by it.


But it is a report, the Climate Tech Opportunity that came out today as the recording of this episode.


So definitely check it out.


Just in the quick read that I had, I think it's a good affirmation of a lot of things that you might have forgotten when you're thinking about all the things that climate tech needs.


So the last thing I kind of want to put in front of you is there's one, you know, we always like to get advice out and you give us a lot of great advice from the climate founder side, especially with your work with the climate tech bootcamp.


On the venture side, you are currently working on putting a model out there, putting a fund out there.


Um, in your own unique way, especially given the Venture Studio model, what did you learn and what can you tell the audience, aspiring fund managers, people that are just curious about the funding environment right now?


Like, what can you tell them about what it's like to raise or think about building a fund in climate right now, as well as any advice that you have, um, on that process?


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Sure.


So I think that there's.


And rightfully so, there's, there's a lot of optimism around what the returns will look like around climate tech, like broadly speaking, right?


Like, there's, there's, like, I think, a very rosy outlook.


In general, you know, I think you don't see this much LP interest if there isn't, right?


So I think, though, that because it's still so early in the game, we don't know yet how these funds are going to perform.


And


You know, three, four or five years down the line, we'll probably know a lot more about which strategies and sectors and types of technical assistance and oversight, governance, et cetera, you know, the companies needed to become successful in the long run.


And so I think where I'm going with this is that


Don't jump too quickly to just say that climate equals amazing returns without understanding how the different sectors that underpin it actually function, and which ones can actually be a more venture backable business in the near term or not, because climate is such a broad issue, it's very difficult to wrap it around just, you know, one business model, right?


And so that's where I think that we're still learning a ton.


And so anybody getting into this space,


would say, yeah, it goes super deep on the on there, excuse me, in order to develop that thesis.


Because at the same because it can be it can very easily go awry if you're too broad.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

I think that's incredibly relevant because not only are you thinking about your returns, but I think, you know, a growing number of people are becoming educated that this isn't software.


This isn't the nineties.


It's not just fund.


And if it works, it works.


Like you generally have to be a pretty informed investor at this point in time, unless you're backing like, you know, software within EVs, you have to be pretty informed on what this new space looks like.


And I think the consensus, a lot of LPs are growing aware of that.


Um, so the aspiring fundamentals have to catch up essentially.


So, um, look, man, I, I loved having you on the show.


I think this is, like I said, I also would very much measure my success by how confusing it is to describe my day job.


So you are very much an inspiration to me.


I really appreciate you coming on.


Um, yeah, last thing, last thing is just where, where can people find you and, and yeah, anything else you want to ask the audience?


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Oh, I think this is great.


I'm so glad we did this man.


Um, in terms of where they can find me, you mean like my, my email address or LinkedIn socials?


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

Yeah.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Yeah.


Uh, I mean, LinkedIn is easiest.


Um, I'm becoming a lot more LinkedIn savvy these days.


And so I'm realizing it's really important for, for connecting with people.


So definitely get in touch.


Happy to be in touch with you guys there.


SPEAKER 3: Somil Aggarwal

Well, great and best of luck with your with your fund.


I very much expect to have you on the show once that gets more once that gets rolling.


But again, thank you for coming on.


SPEAKER 2: Jamil Wyne

Oh, man, it was a pleasure.


Thanks so much to you and Silas.


And yeah, I'm looking forward to hearing when it's out.


But much appreciated, man.


This is great.

Intro
Policy-oriented mindset in climate
Parallels between developmental finance and climate investing
Origins of CT Bootcamp
Choosing Climate experts and filling in founders’ weaknesses
What is Riffle Ventures
How he thinks about COP 28 being in Dubai and concerns with O&G
The Climate Tech Opportunity
Energy
Transportation
Food & Ag
Industry
Built Environment
GHG Capture
Managing & Reporting
Advice to VCs