Toyota Ventures Climate Fund: Bridging the Gap Between Headwinds and Innovation | by Toyota Ventures | Toyota Ventures | Feb, 2022

Lisa Coco, partner of the Climate Fund

When I was first approached regarding a partner position for the newly established Toyota Ventures climate fund, I was completely confused with the idea of ​​returning to the world of climate technology by spending time on the cleantech 1.0 scene during my days at General Electric. My excitement was also fueled by the accompanying winds of today that weren’t there during cleantech 1.0, and my confidence that “this time, it will be to be different ”. Finally, I was fascinated by the idea of ​​being able to support entrepreneurs and transformative technologies that can truly change the world.

At the same time, I have spent most of my professional career – covering financial services, innovation and enterprise – in large organizations, and I was skeptical about joining a corporate venture group, given some of the challenges and mistakes I have seen in the past. It’s no secret that corporate investors are often trapped by investing too close to the core, moving too slowly, and focusing on the parent company as a client rather than an entrepreneur.

That’s why I was thrilled when I met Jim and the rest of the Toyota Ventures team and found that we share similar founding principles. Jim has been both a business leader and a serial entrepreneur, and is well aware of the potential benefits and pitfalls of a corporate startup partnership. Toyota Ventures was designed to take advantage of the good and avoid the bad, and the team does not hesitate to express the company’s mission …We are investing to help identify “what’s next” for Toyota. When I started working as a team, I was fascinated to learn that Toyota was originally founded in 1926 to manufacture and sell automated looms! “What’s next” is the company’s position, and Toyota Ventures and Climate Fund continue that tradition.

Thus, while many large corporations focus on investing at the crossroads (or near) of a particular sector and its core business opportunities, the Toyota Ventures Climate Fund will invest inside but also outside the sights of climate change and mobility. The fund’s mandate includes greater investment in support of Toyota’s commitment to carbon neutrality and cutting-edge technology to bring us to zero need.

Although our playing field is wide, we believe that our ultimate goal can be achieved by identifying key industry friction points and combining them with destructive solutions. For example, there is significant friction between electrification and decarbonisation. Electrification is the key to decarbonisation, however electrification will decarbonize only if there is enough available and available clean energy. According to McKinsey & Company, in the deep decarbonization scenario, widespread electrification could lead to a tripling of electricity consumption by 2050. To limit these additional carbon emissions, electricity production must significantly accelerate the transition to clean energy. We need to add more tools to the toolkit – a greater variety of clean energy sources, longer storage, local production and of course everything needs to be available.

As Jim mentioned in his blog about the Climate Fund, our team is actively working to find and evaluate startups, and you can expect that in the coming days and weeks you will learn about some of the companies we have funded. Meanwhile, below is a closer look at the areas inspected by the Climate Fund. As always, we are looking for the best entrepreneurs and the most innovative technologies to support Toyota’s commitment to carbon neutrality and counter climate change. These include:

Towards carbon neutrality and beyond: follow the journey of the Toyota Ventures climate fund

While this may seem like a monumental challenge, we look forward to this journey and work with entrepreneurs who are accelerating the ability, scalability and economic viability of technologies to combat climate change. If you are a founder with an idea that reflects this vision, I encourage you to apply on our website. Our platform team also hires a portfolio partner to support Climate Fund startups; find out more on our vacancy board.

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