Hello 2021!

2020 was…a very full year, and we know many people faced unimaginable challenges. During this time we have once again been invigorated by the amazing entrepreneurs we know or have met. Despite COVID, the importance of their work has become increasingly important and urgent as we look towards 2021.

For Buoyant, 2020 is inextricably tied to our origin story.

2020 is the year we officially came together as a team and recommitted to our shared goal again and again, mostly while looking at each other on computer screens. A journey like ours either makes you appreciate who you have at your side or makes you cut and run. I’m happy to say our experience has been the former.

Looking towards 2021 we are excited about the increased number of climate commitments by corporations and governments, changes to financial systems, and the role a Covid recovery can play in supporting climate change efforts.

On December 5th, Buoyant hosted Climate, Civics, and Cocktails with Ian Adams and Karen Wayland. We discussed climate’s focal role in the new administration’s platform, early appointments of climate supporters across the administration, the US rejoining The Paris Agreement, and participating in COP 26 ensures that 2021 will be a big year for climate. For entrepreneurs, this means that they should engage with local officials to help them connect with new agency heads and advocate for themselves and their businesses.

In recognition of the end of 2020 and the start of a new chapter in 2021 the Buoyant Partners have made donations to the following non-profits, detailed below: Clean Air Task Force, Clean Energy Trust, Climeworks, and Vote Solar.

We wish all of you a good end to 2020 and can’t wait to see you in 2021!

Climate Risk Transforming the Global Economy

This month Global Financial Markets Association (GFMA), the financial securities industry trade group recognizing banks, asset managers and securities trading firms, commissioned Climate Finance Markets and the Real Economy in coordination with almost every large scale North American and European financial institution.

One of our favorite quotes of report is the first two sentences:

Climate change poses economic and financial risks to the global economy. Efforts to mitigate against these risks and adapt to the changing climate will require a fundamental transformation of our global economy.

The report concludes that to achieve a scenario of limiting temperature rise to 1.5° Celsius $100-150 trillion investment is needed over the next three decades, $3-5 trillion per year, for decarbonization across 10 sectors, Power, Iron & Steel, Cement, Chemicals, Light Road Transport, Heavy Road Transport, Aviation, Shipping, Agriculture and Buildings. And calls for action from the public sector, social sector (donors, NGOs, civil society), and broader financial system.

One of our favorite graphics was the 'Climate Finance Market Structure' illustrating how participants fit together:

We wish we would have…

…done the SPAC analysis published by ClimateTechVC showing the over-performance of Climate Tech SPACs. The 10 climate tech companies that are now officially publicly traded are also significantly overperforming the total SPAC post-merger market; on average, climate tech SPACs have posted a 131% return vs the 50% return of the total SPAC market.

These numbers may be on the low side given some of the recent performance in December.

What we are…


Want to Work on Climate? Start Here. A great overview of climate resources and a how-to guide to keeping up to date with climate news and the climate tech space.

Climate FinTech, from New Energy Nexus, a non-profit focused on clean energy adoption. The report distills over 100 interviews to answer key questions about climate opportunities and impact and defines Climate FinTech as "the intersection of climate, finance, and digital technology. These digital innovations, applications, and platforms serve as crucial financial intermediaries and mediums between all stakeholders pursuing decarbonization"

Princeton's recently released Net Zero America report. This study provides five different feasible and affordable pathways for the United States to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Lloyd's of London steps back from coal in first climate change policy


I am Greta A year chronicle of environmental activist Greta Thunberg providing a detailed view of the life of a teenager and her fight for the planet.

…Listening To

My Climate Journey: Nili Gilbert, Investment Committee Chair of the David Rockefeller Fund and Synergos A particularly inspiring episode for anyone interested in the role finance can play to advance climate action.

…Donating To

This year the partners at Buoyant selected # non-profits to donate to in lieu of gifts. Below are the non-profits we selected, which we believe are all supporting the fight for climate change in different ways.

Clean Air Task Force, a non-profit environmental organization that catalyzes resilient solutions to climate change, focusing on all possible solutions. They push for a change in technology and policies that are required to get to a zero-emissions, high-energy planet.

Clean Energy Trust, a non-profit fund working to demonstrate that investing in and supporting early-stage cleantech innovation can yield financial returns and positive impact. Bringing cleantech innovation to market by finding, funding, and growing high-impact cleantech startups from the Midwest.

Climeworks, a Switzerland-based company that has built a modular technology for capturing CO2 and then permanently turning it into solid material deep underground. Although these offsets are expensive at over $1000 per ton of CO2, purchasing them gives unparalleled certainty of permanent CO2 removal, and supports the development of important frontier technology. 

Vote Solar, a non-profit policy advocacy organization with the mission of making solar more accessible and affordable across the United States. They work at the state-level combining deep policy expertise, coalition building, and public engagement to power just and equitable clean energy progress in 25+ states to drive the transition to a just 100% clean energy future.

Upcoming Events

Friday, January 22nd: Wharton Energy Conference, Buoyant Partner Daniel Hullah will be participating in a panel on Technology and Innovation: Entrepreneurship and Investing

Plug and Play North Dakota AgTech Expo January 13th 

CES January 11th to 14th

Cleantech Group Forum January 19th to 21st

Work with us! (& some of our favorite people)

For fun (since you’ve made it this far…)

The annual list by Tom Whitwell 52 things I learned in 2020

A few favorites from this year:

  • Sarcasm detection has been a serious problem in computer science since the mid 2000s

  • The inventor of the pixel died in 2020 aged 91. He always regretted making pixels square, describing the decision as “something very foolish that everyone in the world has been suffering from ever since.”

  • For VC companies in 2004, the average time from first contact to funding was 90 days. Today, it’s just nine days.

  • 報復性熬夜 is a Chinese term that roughly means ‘Revenge bedtime procrastination’ — when “people who don’t have much control over their daytime life refuse to sleep early in order to regain some sense of freedom during late night hours”.

Like what you are reading? Subscribe to The Lighthouse or share it with a friend!

The Lighthouse is a resource for climate tech updates and a channel for us to regularly share our perspective on Buoyant’s investment thesis and industry sectors. We know we are not alone in producing great content and will amplify the voices of others by highlighting those resources we find thought-provoking.

Share The Lighthouse