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Q&A with Carbon13 Founder and CEO, Chris Coleridge

Thu, 10 March, 2022

Carbon13 founder and CEO, Chris Coleridge will be presenting on the subject of ‘Taking the Venture Road’ at Research for Impact 2022.

Carbon13 works with founders to build startups that can reduce CO₂e emissions by millions of tonnes, tackling the biggest challenges of Net Zero and achieving a meaningful impact on emissions.

We took some time to find out more…

Hi Chris, can you start by letting us know a bit more about the aims and work of Carbon13?

Carbon13 brings together cohorts of technical and commercial innovators who share a determination to use entrepreneurial innovation to find ways of driving decarbonisation and carbon capture. Through our programmes, run twice a year in Cambridge and virtually, we help aligned teams form and take advantage of this unique moment in history when, we believe and observe, the currents of venture capital are running more and more vigorously to unearth and commercialise technology with the potential to address the climate crisis. Our teams—we have made pre-seed investments in 20 over the last eight months, across every sector of the economy—are supported to develop their value propositions, business models, go to market and carbon impact story from first principles, so that they are the substance of the climate tech insurgency, not the froth.

What pushed you to found Carbon13 and how can people get involved?

I’ve been a business school academic for 20 years, and what I’ve been teaching in entrepreneurship classes is that entrepreneurship is a tool society invented to solve a particular class of innovation problem—in the simplest terms, those characterised by high uncertainty. My kids growing up has coincided with my reading first Greta Thunberg, then Cristiana Figueres, and then John Doerr, and realising that the climate crisis and humanity’s need to decarbonise the economy, capture carbon and adapt to and mitigate climate-induced changes map fairly precisely on to what well-considered entrepreneurship is good at.

We welcome technical folks, both with and without IP, and help them find a commercial founder to make a dream team—our next programme/cohort starts 26 April and while we are “full” of seasoned commercial founders already, we are definitely open to scientific and technical innovators who want to address their innovation work to the climate crisis.

Can you give us a little insight into what you will be speaking about during your presentation at R4i?

Well, what we’re noticing is that for some types of projects with high decarbonisation impact, moving past TRL3/4/5 is currently faster and arguably even surer with venture capital than through the other forms of funding available, and the famous valley of death seems to be less of a problem than it has been historically. So, I’ll talk through how I came to that view and what is involved if innovators want to take that road.

R4i is concerned with collaborative research and development activities that align with the strategies of the European Commission and the UK, why do you think this is important and why did you decide to get involved with R4i 2022?

Collaborative research and development is critical for the climate emergency because the answers we need often are cross-disciplinary. And, in Carbon13, we have a route to commercialising that work, which humanity really needs us to accelerate if we are going to address the crisis. As a colleague of mine said on returning from COP26, “everyone wants to find the fashionable silver bullet—but we already have the tech we need to solve this problem, we just need to diffuse it, and that’s what C13 is for.”


You can register to attend Research for Impact 2022, here.

For more information please email: