Founders, Welcome to Climactic!
We at Climactic invest in startups seeking to decarbonize the Enterprise and mobility and reimagine how businesses manage their supply chains. By leveraging our experience as serially successful founders and CEOs of 4 companies, operators and 20+ years combined as venture capitalists, we seek to accelerate the speed and effectiveness of our portfolio companies’ efforts to scale their vital missions.
Raj has spent his career in startups, high growth companies and venture capital. He joined Excite@Home at an early stage, ran the e-commerce division, and rode it to IPO. He then started and led as CEO, a leading online photo service, Snapfish, which was sold twice (the first was a humbling distress sale, and ultimately to HP for $300M). He was also co-founder & CEO of Fitmob - a fitness marketplace, which later merged into Classpass and finally into Mindbody to create the world’s leading B2B and B2C fitness tech company. He spent 7 years at Mayfield Fund as managing director where in 2006 he became convinced fighting climate change should be his life crusade - starting with a nonprofit climate awareness social game he created - “e-mission”. He invested in consumer and enterprise, eventually being the first VC investor in Lyft. He later joined Lyft as Chief Strategy Officer focused on transforming the service to an electric, self driving shared fleet - which is underway.
Josh was fortunate to have participated in the digitization of everything as the founder of one of the first Internet music companies, Spinner.com, acquired by AOL for $320M. He was also the founder of Crackle, a digital video platform, acquired by Sony for $65M. Josh then co-founded Freestyle, an early stage tech VC, where he sourced or invested in Airtable, Patreon, Betterup, Intercom and Superside, among many others. While at Freestyle, Josh helped start TSG, a State task force to source private company solutions to solve many of the challenges facing the State of California from the COVID-19 crisis.
We draw on all of our learnings, our successes and our failures to help our CEOs and their companies’ supercharge their personal and professional growth, while being mindful of their mental health at every step along the journey. We view ourselves as extensions of our founders’ management teams and are both proactive and reactive to their needs.
We, the founding general partners of Climactic, are joined by bestselling author, climate activist, and climate-advisor to CEOs, Paul Hawken. Paul wrote the definitive reference books on climate change: Drawdown and Regeneration. We and Paul will be co-hosting a Climactic podcast series where we engage in direct conversation with leading CEOs to uncover their best practices and hardest challenges as they seek to deliver on their net zero pledges. In our debut episode, we interview Michael Preysman, the co-founder and Chairman of Everlane, on the many sustainability hurdles in the apparel industry while also providing some light at the end of the tunnel. We also are thrilled to have Van Jones as a strategic advisor providing valuable expertise on government, policy and climate justice. Lastly, our founding associate, Peter Sun, who joined us from Bain, is the glue that keeps the Climactic train running.
We seek to act as a bridge between tech and climate tech by:
- Leveraging our enterprise and mobility experience as investors in Lyft, Airtable, Rubicon Project, Patreon, Intercom and BetterUp
- Tapping our deep tech network of proven executives from CROs to CTOs to share best practices with our founders
- Mobilizing top tech talent through Climate Draft, a platform co-matching tech talent to climate tech, where we are 1 of 5 founding VCs
- Engaging with top tier VCs, who trust our experience and thorough approach, to provide pools of follow-on capital
We seek to invest in pre-seed, seed and series A rounds, yet our sweet spot is funding between $2.0 and $2.5M in the seed stage as a lead or co-lead investor. We have invested in 12 companies to date and you will learn more about our latest, Populus, below. Welcome to the age of the decarbonization of everything.
Our First Institutional Investment
We couldn’t be more thrilled with our first institutional investment - Populus - the leading mobility operating system for cities, that allows cities to track, manage, and charge for all types of fleet mobility. This platform will also enable cities to put in place the “carrots” and “sticks” to move us to an emission and congestion -free transportation era as soon as possible - which is one of the largest causes of climate change.
This is a special investment because Raj’ first job at Lyft as Chief Strategy Officer (he also led their first VC round while at Mayfield) was to explore a very similar idea. Back in 2016, on his first week on the job, Raj was told of a really interesting idea by Lyft’s board member, Ben Horowitz. The premise was that it was difficult to go head on against local and Uber rideshare competition in international cities - so let’s change the game. Rather than launch a rideshare service, let’s provide the city with a software platform that does exactly what Populus sets out to do - solving congestion, emissions, and affordability for cities.
Raj sprinted with a small team visiting 25 cities around the world in 7 months. He concluded that there was strong demand from cities for such a platform - and that cities wanted it to cover all modes such as transit, rideshare, delivery and micro mobility - but Lyft might not be in the best position to launch a B2G software service - especially since it needed to focus at home where its market share was exploding due to Uber’s troubles.
So Lyft decided to put that idea on hold - however, it inspired Lyft to become a full multimodal service with rideshare, transit, rentals and micro mobility all in one.
Fast forward to this year - our friend, Charles Hudson of Precursor Ventures, shared the Populus opportunity with us. We met the CEO, Regina Clewlow, and instantly were intrigued and quickly saw how well she and her team had executed on this vision - they bring amazing domain experience, years of hard work with cities, the right business model in the flow of transactions, and gained strong traction in over 50 metros. We felt we could have a sizable impact given Raj’ experience at Lyft so we decided to co-lead, join the board, and make a big bet for our first institutional deal.
As we engaged Populus, the Inflation Reduction Act ushered up to $76B credits pertaining to transportation that will open incredible software analytics opportunities. The billions of credits don’t magically become EVs running smoothly on city roads overnight. To get to a future of 100% EV delivery fleets, scaled charging networks, and zero-emission light vehicles in bike lanes, we need to stand up effective digital infrastructure to deliver incentives, enforce policies, and harmonize rapidly shifting ways to use city roads at a scale unparalleled by manual operations today - and we believe that Populus is the bridge to this future.
We look forward to partnering with the co-founders, Regina and Fletcher, and helping them develop the company and themselves to have major impact with cities worldwide on congestion, finances, and of course emissions. We could not have imagined a better first institutional investment for Climactic as we seek to re-imagine mobility worldwide.