By Emily Kirsch, Founder and Managing Partner at Powerhouse Ventures & Founder and CEO at Powerhouse
Today, we’re proud to announce Powerhouse Ventures Fund II. At ten times the size of our first fund, our $70M second fund will back entrepreneurs building the digital infrastructure for rapid decarbonization.
Powerhouse Ventures invests in digital solutions driving decarbonization in energy, utilities, mobility, financial services, and tech. Our investors represent some of the world’s largest corporations in each of these sectors, including TotalEnergies Ventures, Constellation Technology Ventures, Energy Impact Partners, American Electric Power, Toyota Ventures, Credit Suisse, and the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund. We’re also backed by dozens of industry leaders—the majority of them women—including Sunrun Co-Founder Lynn Jurich, Google X Director of Energy and Innovation Page Crahan, and Tesla CTO Drew Baglino.
“At Microsoft, we believe in the transformative power of technology,” said Mark Kroese, General Manager of Sustainability Solutions at Microsoft. “Powerhouse Ventures is investing in technologies that will drive the rapid decarbonization of global energy and mobility systems. Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund is proud to be backing Powerhouse Ventures.”
“The last decade in climate tech saw a handful of startups become billion-dollar companies,” said Lynn Jurich, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Chair at Sunrun. “The next decade will see these companies by the hundreds, and Powerhouse Ventures is positioned to find and invest in these startups at the earliest stages while blazing a path as one of the few women-led funds in climate tech. I’m proud to invest in their second fund.”
Where We Came From
Four years ago, we launched Powerhouse Ventures to fill a critical gap in early-stage funding for startups building digital technologies to rapidly decarbonize our global energy and mobility systems. The launch of our first fund coincided with a turning point for climate tech, a revival of climate tech venture funding, and an emergence of specialized investors. While betting on climate tech may seem commonplace now, it wasn’t at the time: Bloomberg covered the 2018 launch of our first fund with the headline “New Fund Betting on Clean Energy Ideas that Burned Past Backers.” (They changed the headline shortly after publication, but it’s still in the URL).
In the decade between the cleantech 1.0 bust and our first investment, the technology cost of solar and wind declined 85% and 49%, respectively. Hardware was no longer the limiting factor in decarbonizing at scale. We embarked with a conviction that, following this revolution in hardware, digital technologies were poised to radically change how clean assets are financed, deployed, and operated—and that our industry expertise and network, built since Powerhouse’s founding in 2013, would facilitate successful venture returns while enabling transformative solutions to reach global scale.
Our Investments, Then and Now
When we backed Leap, their four-person team had a new approach for connecting distributed energy resources to demand response markets. Leap is now the leading energy market access provider with 75 employees, 6 GWh of energy delivered to the grid in 2021, and customers like Google Nest and Sunrun.
When we invested in Raptor Maps, their team of three was building software to digitize and monitor solar assets. Now, Raptor Maps has a team of 37 and is the system of record for the solar industry, with 50 GW of assets under management in 40 countries and customers like NextEra and ENGIE.
And when we met Terabase, they were six co-founders with a vision of how to bring the price of utility-scale solar below $0.01 per kilowatt-hour using software. Now their team of 90 is rolling out an interconnected, digital ecosystem of software and automation to better build the largest solar projects in the world, with a recent project in Qatar selling its electricity for $0.01449 per kilowatt-hour.
Where We’re Going
As we launch our second fund, we’re at a second turning point for climate tech. Asset managers, investors, governments, and corporations have made trillions of dollars worth of commitments, launched a flurry of new funds, and have built a new landscape for climate tech startups. This second turning point is more difficult than the first: we must turn talk and commitments into action by getting clean assets on the ground with the existential urgency we need to address the climate crisis. Our purpose at Powerhouse Ventures is to address the climate crisis with innovation, and we’re not doing it alone.
Powerhouse & Powerhouse Ventures
Powerhouse Ventures operates alongside Powerhouse, an innovation firm that works with leading global corporations to help them find the climate tech startups they’re looking for. Powerhouse’s database, brand, and network makes Powerhouse Ventures uniquely qualified to source, evaluate, and support early-stage climate tech startups.