Tech giants form Breakthrough Energy Coalition

November 30, 2015 | 11:36

Tags: #bill-gates #investment #jeff-bezos #mark-zuckerberg #meg-whitman #philanthropy #reid-hoffman #richard-branson

Companies: #breakthrough-energy-coalition

Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and a selection of other big-hitters in the world of technology have announced a partnership dubbed the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which looks to invest in early-stage companies working on clean energy solutions.

Announced this weekend by Zuckerberg, the Breakthrough Energy Coalition bills itself as a platform for 'large funding commitments for basic and applied research' into clean energy technologies. 'Solving the clean energy problem is an essential part of building a better world. We won't be able to make meaningful progress on other challenges - like educating or connecting the world - without secure energy and a stable climate,' claimed Facebook founder Zuckerberg in the announcement. 'Yet progress towards a sustainable energy system is too slow, and the current system doesn't encourage the kind of innovation that will get us there faster.

'The Breakthrough Energy Coalition will invest in ideas that have the potential to transform the way we all produce and consume energy. As leaders prepare for the UN Climate Change Conference: in Paris this week, we hope this will encourage more partners to make innovation a priority in the fight against climate change. We already invest in renewable and clean energy for our Facebook facilities today, but we believe that building a positive future for the next generation also means investing in long term projects that companies and governments don’t fund.

While Gates and Zuckerberg headline the coalition's founding, they're in good company: other co-founders include founder Marc Benioff, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Virgin's Richard Branson, LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman, Alibaba's Jack Ma, SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise chief executive Meg Whitman, along with a healthy list of philantropists and venture capitalists. The coalition has not placed a monetary value on its fund, but with a list of backers like that its fiscal clout is not to be underestimated.

The coalition has announced that it will invest early with seed funding, angel funding, and Series A investments across a broad range of sectors from electricity generation and storage to agriculture. It will do so, its principles state, as part of the Mission Innovation programme, with the first investment announcements expected towards the end of 2016 to early 2017.
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