Finding the next big thing, and scaling it

Christoph Ostermann
Tim Schumacher
World Fund
Annemarie de Jong
David Balensiefen

PwC's State of Climate Tech study showed that investment in climate tech grew by 210% from 2020 to 2021. Of 3,000 climate techs identified across the world, 78 unicorns emerged. Is this how we should measure success? And with so many startups, new ideas and technologies emerging, how can we identify what is really important, has true potential or will really aid us in enabling the energy transition? 

David Balensiefen, gridX CEO & Co-Founder, says "I think with every fast-growing company there are a lot of challenges and pains. Maybe starting with one: I think is culture, because if you are growing quite fast, it's all about maintaining the culture and also developing the culture in a positive way. So I think it's a big challenge for the recruiting and employer branding team to find the right talent and also I think it's more important to hire for character and then train the skills, so I think that’s a really a big pain in current organizations."

Entrepreneur & Investor, Tim Schumacher, says that financial and emissions savings are closely aligned. "To us, decarbonization is a predictor for financial returns," he says. "If you save a lot of carbon, therefore you save money. For example, we have one taken from an example in the non-energy world, one start up in the World Fund, they reduce food waste by smarter ordering for supermarkets and people might think it's a small problem but it's actually a huge one, so much food and vegetables are wasted every single day and that means if you reduce food waste as a supermarket your profitability shoots-up. And so very often those things are aligned and that is a good thing."

Advisor and Board Member, Annemarie de Jong, adds that growing too fast is used a lot in the media and in tech. She says, "there is an ambiguity to this one because sometimes you have a market momentum and you need to acquire as fast as you can, you know, cover the land…for example with EVs the market will look absolutely totally different so if you don’t do it now you don’t have 2-3 years, so you really need to move fast, full throttle, push past the metal…and that’s hard. Yes, that could grow too fast, either you go fast or you die trying."