EVCA Leadership
December 5, 2023

Leadership Spotlight: Clean-Tech Vertical Lead, Ariana Lucera of MassMutual Catalyst Fund

Isaac Snitkoff
EVCA Fellow

The EVCA leadership is dedicated to building community across and empowering the next generation of venture capitalists through an array of activities—from hosting events, knowledge sharing, and connecting others. This EVCA Leadership Spotlight Series is intended to help the broader community get to know what's going on behind the scenes at the EVCA, as well as highlight the valuable contributions of those individuals who make the EVCA possible. Accordingly, it's a great privilege for us to announce this EVCA Leadership Spotlight on our very own EVCA Clean-Tech Vertical Co-Lead, Ariana Lucera of MassMutual Catalyst Fund.

Ariana Lucera is a Senior Associate at the MassMutual Catalyst Fund, focusing on early-stage impact investments across a variety of sectors. Her passion for clean-tech and deep-tech have driven a variety of investments across alternative energy storage, mineral resources, ag-tech and manufacturing. She is responsible for sourcing, evaluating, and supporting Seed to Series B companies.

Prior to joining the Impact Investing team, Ariana participated in MassMutual’s Investment Management Leadership Development program where she held roles across quantitative and fundamental credit, macro-economic research, and operational due diligence. Ariana holds a BS in Finance from Bentley University and is based in Boston. Beyond her professional pursuits, Ariana enjoys traveling, sailing, exploring the outdoors and is a big foodie.

EVCA: Could you explain more about what you do in your role as a Clean-Tech Vertical Lead at EVCA?

Ariana: The Clean-Tech vertical is still relatively new at EVCA, having been launched in the fall of 2022. My co-lead Tomas Englis and I are excited to continue building out events and resources for this high growth critical sector. Since assuming the role of co-lead, my priorities have included understanding the needs of EVCA members and organizing initial programming. We recently hosted an Inflation Reduction Act training with the help of Sidley and have hosted several notable guest speakers such as energy investor John Arnold, Tom Steyer from Galvanize Climate and Chris Sacca at Lowercarbon Capital.

I look forward to continuing to build and address the evolving needs of this wide sector and diverse group of investors. I welcome connecting with any investors who are also passionate about the sector or have any suggestions on how we can best support and further develop this vertical.

EVCA: What made you interested in taking a leadership role at EVCA?

Ariana: I believe it’s essential to have peers to grow with, and I’ve been really impressed with the EVCA community. Recognizing my commitment to a career in climate-tech investing, I see this as an excellent opportunity to collaborate, deepen my knowledge and add value to the EVCA community.

EVCA: What is your most contrarian view on an existing or emerging technology trend?

Ariana: There are many fascinating companies in the carbon capture space, but I do worry we are putting an overemphasis on this technology. Utilizing carbon capture at the source for large emitters like cement and steel that are nearly impossible to 100% decarbonize is logical. However, given the expense, energy intensity, storage and development time of technologies like direct air capture, I do worry it’s pulling away resources from technologies that are already well established. Additionally, I think we must be careful of the unintended consequences of technologies like this through the carbon markets.

Similar to carbon capture, I acknowledge the pivotal role of carbon markets in achieving net-zero emissions, yet I feel there is a tendency toward excessive reliance on offsets. Companies should push themselves to undertake the rigorous task of reducing emissions at the source, adopting a proactive rather than reactive approach. Balancing innovation with established practices is crucial to ensuring a comprehensive and sustainable transition to a low-carbon future.

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