CleanTechies
CleanTechies Podcast
#178 Investing in Water, IRA's Missing Link, Long Sales-Cycles, Network Compounding, & More w/ Tom Ferguson (Burnt Island Ventures)
0:00
-1:07:16

#178 Investing in Water, IRA's Missing Link, Long Sales-Cycles, Network Compounding, & More w/ Tom Ferguson (Burnt Island Ventures)

How Burnt Island Ventures became the leading VC in the world Funding the best water entrepreneurs in the world.

🌎 Welcome back to the CleanTechies PodLetter, investor edition.

Today, we are talking to Tom Ferguson from Burnt Island Ventures.

What do you get when you put Chris Rock, Timothée Chalamet, Greta Thunberg, & Marc Andreessen together?

You get Tom Ferguson! The King of Water VC!

Tom is by far the funniest guest we have ever had, so maybe you’re not even into Water Tech; no worries, you can skip that comedy show you were going to attend and listen to this pod.

As you’ll see, Tom is a fascinating textbook example of compounding your network. His focus on the water space allowed him to build Burnt Island Ventures, which is now THE leading global VC focused on Water.

Some core topics discussed today include…

  • How staying focused on water compounded his network and allowed him to build BIV

  • The missing piece of the IRA: Investment Into Water

  • How long sales-cycles are okay as long as you plan for them because they have a large payoff AND create a time moat

  • Team building

  • Big opportunities to build in water: Water Testing

  • And how their network compounds daily to increase their own unfair advantage

And more…


📺 Watch on YouTube | 🍎 Apple Podcasts | 🎧 Spotify | 🗣️ Join the Slack Channel


🚨Attention! 🚨 We interrupt your regular programming for an important message.

ClimateTech founders are taking on a huge challenge. Building a climate startup is highly complex but also SO NECESSARY if we are going to save the climate. Founders not only you need to understand how to build a startup, but you also need to understand how to deal with hardware, have a strong handle on climate policy, know how to fundraise from diverse investors types, etc. etc. etc…

It’s a lot.

That’s why we make CleanTechies. The #1 Podcast for ClimateTech Entrepreneurs.

In addition to our jobs, we devote ~20 hours a week to producing this podcast for you. This way, you can learn from others who have walked the path you’re on now, learn from their mistakes, and gain insights on navigating this complex world.

If this mission resonates with you, we ask for your financial support of this project. It takes a lot of effort, and it’s not free. Your willingness to contribute on a monthly or yearly basis helps us keep this going.

If you’re already a subscriber and want to contribute financially, click “Upgrade to Paid” at the top right of your screen.

If not, follow the steps once you click “Subscribe” below to help us out. Thanks for helping us help all the climate entrepreneurs like you. 🙏 🌎


The Guest: Tom Ferguson

Today, Tom is a Founding Partner of Burnt Island Ventures - the Leading Water VC Globally.

His career is a great example of how a focused network compounds since he’s spent ALL of it in water.

After graduating into the Financial Crisis, he took his first role in environmental consulting with ERM. There, he did a lot of work with water-related projects.

He eventually decided to do a masters at Harvard and then landed at Imagine H20—the leading water accelerator globally.

Having compounded a network of people innovating and funding project in the water space, allowed him to start Burnt Island Ventures in 2020.

All of these things together have caused the gravitational pull he and the team has to compound—they are known. Being known leads to more people reaching out. A reputation is formed, and their moat increases.


The Company: Burnt Island Ventures

One Liner: Funding the best water entrepreneurs in the world.

After an entire career spent in supporting WaterTech founders, the team founded BIV with the intention of helping these founders.

Their portfolio companies are called Islanders, of which they have 18. Some incredible names you’ve probably heard like ZwitterCo, FloodBase, Aclarity, daupler, and SewerAI. (Check out the full list 👉 meet The Islanders)

Because they have built a name for themselves, they are the place to turn for any Water Entrepreneur. The network compounds by supporting each other constantly.

In other words, if you’re a Water Entrepreneur, they are the one you want a check from!


Do you have suggestions on future guests or topics? Leave a comment!

Leave a comment

Unable to support financially but still want to help? Share this post w/ 3 ClimateTech entrepreneurs (or aspiring entrepreneurs). Sharing is super helpful to us, and it costs you nothing.

Share


📝 Show Notes:

Topics

  • 05:00 Introduction

  • 08:10 Why Sustainability

  • 10:34 Time with Imagine H2O

  • 16:13 Other Considerations for BIV

  • 19:27 Story behind the Name BIV

  • 20:55 MBA and Business School

  • 27:22 Focus on Building Team

  • 31:32 Pricing in Velocity of Sales Process

  • 38:35 Compounding Network as a VC’s Moat

  • 47:24 Biggest Problems in Water

  • 56:17 Companies that BIV work with

  • 1:00:42 Startup Opportunity; Water Testing Market

  • 1:04:19 Takeaways

Links


Asks 👋

👉 Listeners Survey

  • We would love to hear how we can improve the show and what you like most.

Take the Listeners Survey

👉 Fundraising for Founders

  • If founders are looking for funding in the ClimateTech space, reach out & schedule a chat here!

👉 Early-Stage Founders Hiring

  • Silas just started his own recruitment consultancy tailor-made for early-stage ClimateTech startups. He does this by offering heavily discounted headhunting services for companies at Pre-Seed, Seed, and Series A companies. If you need a hand finding the best talent on the market, and you don’t want to sell your kidney to pay for it, let’s chat. (booking here)

Get Hiring

👉 Meet Top Founders

  • Interested in getting in front of hundreds of ClimateTech VCs and Founders each month, reach out to info@cleantechiespod.com to learn more about becoming a sponsor.

If you couldn’t already tell, we care a lot about ClimateTech founders 😂


🙏🏽 Thanks for tuning in, and see y’all next episode!

0 Comments
CleanTechies
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.