Bill Gates and Fellow Investors Create Fund to Fight Climate Change

Bill Gates and a group of fellow investors are creating a fund worth over $1 billion to fight climate change by investing in clean energy innovation. The fund is called the Breakthrough Energy Ventures Fund and has a 20-year duration. BEV is an investor-led fund made up of members of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, guided by scientific and technological expertise and committed to investing patiently in developing new ways to live, eat, travel, and build.

Gates has gathered a group of about 20 like-minded investors. Included in the group is Silicon Valley venture capitalists John Doerr and Vinod Khosla, former hedge manager John Arnold, CEO Jeff Bezos, Bloomberg LP founder and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

The directors of BEV include Alibaba founder Jack Ma, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, venture capitalists John Doerr and Vinod Khosla, former energy hedge fund manager John Arnold, and SAP cofounder Hasso Plattner. The combined net worth of the directors is nearly $170 billion, based on estimates of their individual wealth by Bloomberg and Forbes.

The fund will consider investing in electricity generation and storage, transportation, agriculture and energy-system efficiency. Seed money for start-ups and projects ready for commercialization, among other efforts, will be considered.

The investors in BEV have a high tolerance for risk and are willing to wait longer than typical venture funds for a return on their investment. The group has spelled out five “grand challenges” which it says are the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions around the world:  electricity, buildings, manufacturing, transportation and food.

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