Imagine having a front-row seat to the evolution of climate tech, from the early 2000s to now. That's the fascinating journey we take with Rick Zulo, co-founder and GP at Equal Ventures, on our latest podcast episode. Rick candidly unravels his intriguing journey from earning a dual degree in leadership studies and economics to becoming a successful venture capitalist. His perspective on the creation and investment of startups designed to combat climate change is both insightful and thought-provoking.
Rick doesn't shy away from the challenges he faced during the cleantech backlash and the aftermath of the cleantech bubble burst. His unique point of view that venture capitalists are akin to sheep is certain to intrigue. He also illuminates his investment approach, which involves in-depth research before financial commitment, and discusses how the digital divide has impacted legacy industries. The conversation takes an intriguing turn as he discusses his belief that venture capital should be a consulting role with an equity stake.
In our chat, Zulo sheds light on the hurdles of raising capital for companies in legacy industries and how Equal Ventures is changing the game by offering similar opportunities as those in IT and consumer spaces. It's an eye-opening look into the future of venture capital and climate tech. We also explore his work with Climatech VC, where they have created a unique business model of giving away software for free and making money through working capital procurement. You'll surely leave this episode with a fresh perspective on climate tech and its future.
In this episode Silas Mahner (@silasmahner) and Rick Zullo (@Rick_Zullo) discuss, Rick's career trajectory to VC, the thesis behind Equal Ventures, his thoughts on the CTVC's H1 Funding report, and his advice to founders and VCs.
This episode is densely packed with value as Rick has clearly thought a lot about these problems. Perhaps my favorite takeaways are 1) that he views VC as more Consulting with Equity than banking and 2) was how they develop industry connections and understanding so that they can actually help their PortCos succeed.
Enjoy the Episode! 🌎
📺 👀 Prefer to watch: subscribe on YouTube.
📫 Interested in written summaries and takeaways from the episode? Subscribe to the newsletter.
CleanTechies is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
1:51 Intro to Rick
8:10 How he got into Climate
19:27 Equal Ventures
23:45 VC is not Consultative Anymore
35:45 Building in Public
39:53 Their Remit
42:38 H1 CTVC Funding Report Reaction
45:58 Advice to Other Founders and VCs
50:03 Speak the Language of Your Customers
52:09 The Biggest Mistakes Founders Make
Equal VC Website: https://www.equal.vc/
Check out our Sponsor, NextWave Partners: https://www.next-wavepartners.com/
HMU on Twitter: @silasmahner
Other episodes you might enjoy:
Something Totally Different: How to build an MVP with a complex ClimateTech Startup - Andy Frank, Founder of Sealed