A VENTURE STUDIO FOR HIGH IMPACT CLIMATE OPPORTUNITIES
We start with important and difficult climate problems and work with landing market customers to define the characteristics of high impact solutions. Then we find and develop the technologies, products and teams to build world class companies that will address at least 1% of the world’s carbon emissions at scale.
IBET’s mission is to create and then build high impact companies addressing large climate opportunities. We believe that our process reduces risk and time to market, through an intensive effort at the beginning of company creation that focuses credible, experienced teams on problem definition, customer identification and product requirements before seeking solutions.
We address two typical challenges in company creation: First, most companies start with a solutions or technologies and then seek markets and customers. This approach sometimes works – but much more often results in weak or incomplete product-market fit, exacerbated by early market research that is highly susceptible to confirmation bias. Second, most companies typically start with keen and driven entrepreneurs (sometimes with acquaintances, friends and colleagues, who are willing to take the leap), but because of the very nature of start-ups, there is rarely a team of experienced venture pros capable of de-risking key elements of customer-product-market fit, technology risk assessment and fundraising.
IBET addresses both of these risks by engaging credible, experienced entrepreneurs and building teams that work to define problems and product requirements first (with substantial, C-level, customer engagement) and then identifying technology (and sometimes business model) gaps in the available solutions (and testing the global availability of solutions and the competitive environment). By engaging skilled, experienced executives directly in defining the fundamental value proposition for the company, IBET shortens time to first product and substantially mitigates the risk of future pivots. We are relentlessly driven by facts, data and science. We are willing to take technology risk, because we have taken the time to understand it. Once we are ready to spin out a company, we typically already have customer buy-in, have identified the technology solution (even if not completely developed) and we have arranged early funding, ideally from customers and like-minded seed investors. By making the company creation process repeatable and addressing typical company failure points, we reduce both risk and time to market and we create value and impact faster.
The team at IBET has already had its first success. We used the approach to identify which problems the oil and gas sector were facing as they seek to decarbonize. From that effort we found that most pathways to decarbonization required clean hydrogen at no higher cost than grey hydrogen. Once we established that, we sought out potential solutions, settling on a modified from of pyrolysis – with initial investment from early customers Suncor and Cenovus. Ekona has now been spun out of IBET having raised a US$90M Series A. IBET retains its founding shares in Ekona, which will support future climate start-up activities while building value for IBET staff and partners.