CleanTechies Podcast
#174 Hardware Playbook, Science in VC, DeepTech Success Stories, Environmental-Based Returns, & More w/ Jessica Burley (Planet A Ventures)

#174 Hardware Playbook, Science in VC, DeepTech Success Stories, Environmental-Based Returns, & More w/ Jessica Burley (Planet A Ventures)

🌎 Welcome back to the CleanTechies PodLetter, VC edition.

Today, we are talking to Jessica Burley from Planet A.

If you have not already heard about Planet A, you are in the right place because you’re about to be in the know (do people still say that? 🤔)

Some of the core items we discuss are…

  • How their fund’s carry (the ‘success fee’ they make) is tied to the environmental impacts of the investments they make

  • How they use LCAs (you’ll hear more about it below) in their Due Diligence process

  • And perhaps most importantly to this audience, some stories of successful DeepTech founders

We get into a lot more but those are the key topics covered - enjoy! (or if you’re actually really busy, skip to the relevant time stamps)

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The Guest: Jessica Burley

  • Jessica Burley is an Investor at Planet A who got her start at the UN. Then she parlayed that into supporting a family office with impact investing.

  • From there she ended up at Planet A given her passion for the climate space and her focus on continuing to build network.

  • It’s worth pointing out that she doesn’t have an environmental studies education. Which, I hope will give confidence to all the folks worried they won’t be able to land a DeepTech VC role. It’s very possible and Jessica is proof.

The VC: Planet A

One Liner: Investing in DeepTech ClimateTech startups and tying their carry to the environmental outcomes.

Yes, you jsut read that right. They don’t make money unless they can actually invest in companies that remove carbon from the earth and help solve the climate problem.

To achieve this, they perform life cycle analyais on how much carbon will be removed by the products their tentative portfolio companies. This is even more dificult when you consider that a lot of their investmetns are at the earliest stages where there is not a product to fully test.

It’s a fascinating problem and one that needs solving since there are not enough early stage deeptech VCs investing in solving climate change.

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📝 Show Notes:


  • 1:29 Introduction and Background

  • 2:22 The Role of Life Cycle Assessments in Investing

  • 8:44 Article 9 and the European Regulatory Landscape

  • 10:27 Interest in Climate Tech Investing Outside of Europe

  • 12:54 The Increasing Pace of Climate Tech Innovation

  • 13:33 Jess's Journey to Climate Tech Investing

  • 17:35 Transitioning from a Small Fund to a Larger Fund

  • 21:43 The Role of Brand and Value in Climate Tech Investing

  • 24:44 Sector Expertise and Operational Support in Investing

  • 26:23 Geothermal Drilling for Renewable Heating

  • 28:46 Investment Opportunities in Climate Tech

  • 30:45 The Hardware Playbook: Investing in Hardware Startups

  • 42:53 The German Climate Tech Ecosystem

  • 49:18 Building Genuine Relationships in the Climate Tech Ecosystem

  • 51:34 Takeaways

    • Evaluating Life Cycle Assessment in Investment Decisions

    • The Importance of the Hardware Playbook in the Investment Ecosystem

    • De-risking Talent in Startups


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CleanTechies Podcast
CleanTechies is a Podcast and Newsletter where Somil & Silas interview the leading ClimateTech Founders and Investors to share their advice and journeys with other Founders and Investors to help others succeed.