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 Climate Tech Vertical Lead, Thomas Englis of Clearvision Ventures.
Thomas Englis is a Principal at Clearvision Ventures, a multi-stage investment firm focused on category leading software companies relevant to energy and sustainable infrastructure. He has lead investment thesis exercises on carbon accounting, carbon credits, SAF, 5G, and smart cities resulting in investments in startups such as Zūm, Persefoni, Viridios, Sitetracker, Aclima, and Assaia. Thomas also contributed to investments in ChargePoint (NYSE: CHPT), Claroty, and Tomorrow.io.
Prior to joining Clearvision Thomas was an Analyst at GE Ventures, the VC arm of General Electric (NYSE: GE) that invested and incubated businesses across energy, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, aviation, and digital infrastructure. Thomas grew up in Connecticut and attended Vanderbilt University where he majored in Economics and Chinese.
EVCA: Could you explain more about what you do in your role as a Climate Tech Vertical Lead at EVCA?
Thomas: We have a few goals for the EVCA Climate Tech community. One is to deepen the collaboration and knowledge exchange between investors who are focused on climate tech and sustainability trends. Another is to expose more generalist investors to this sector, which I believe will be the primary economic growth story this decade. So far we have facilitated events with exceptional investors like Chris Sacca and Tom Steyer. Moving forward we will be organizing virtual forums and in-person events in cities like SF, NYC, and Boston.
EVCA: What made you interested in taking a leadership role at EVCA?
Thomas: As someone who started out as a generalist tech investor and then become more focused on climate tech, I was looking for a community of like-minded investors that I could learn from. When I couldn’t find one, I asked Adam if I could start a climate tech community at EVCA, and he said yes! One aspect of VC that I really enjoy is connecting people in a way that provides a mutual exchange of value. My hope is that as a leader of the climate tech community I will be able to make those connections in a more programmatic and scalable way.
EVCA: What is your most contrarian view on an existing or emerging technology trend?
Thomas: The intersection of infrastructure and climate tech will be the most important investment trend this decade. AI and other pure software technologies will surely be profitable areas for capital allocators, but these will be dwarfed by investments that are geared towards decarbonizing energy and industry. We have already reached a tipping point in energy, where low-carbon energy generation is at or below cost parity with fossil fuel generation, and this same dynamic will cascade to many other industries like transportation, cement, steel, chemicals, and many other industries. Unlike other areas of tech investing, there is no market demand risk. Many climate tech startups are simply producing a substitute good with a lower carbon footprint than the incumbents. If they can reach cost parity, they receive a flood of market demand.
Government policies, like the Inflation Reduction Act, provide major tailwinds as startups slide down the cost curve and scale up production for low carbon substitute goods.
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