Tom Steyer launches climate tech investment platform

Tom Steyer is putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to fighting climate change. And other people’s money too.

Driving the news: Steyer, the former presidential candidate and billionaire founder of Farallon Capital, today launched Galvanize, a climate tech investment platform that will back companies from the seed-stage through private equity and project finance.

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  • Steyer’s partner is Katie Hall, co-founder and co-chair of Hall Capital Partners.

  • Galvanize’s senior team includes Veery Maxwell (Ajax Investment Strategies), Saloni Multani (Hellman & Friedman and CFO for Biden’s presidential campaign), Cliff Ryan (Riverstone Holdings) and Christian Artmann (Deutsche Bank).

  • Initial backers include Marc Benioff’s Time Ventures and the Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective.

The plan is to raise a series of funds with different investment strategies, totaling billions of dollars. It also expects to provide lots of value-add capabilities at the umbrella level, including people with deep knowledge of policy and politics.

  • Steyer declined to provide specifics, citing SEC marketing restrictions, but said he’s already been investing personal money in climate tech companies.

  • “This is going to be investment with activism, which we’re calling movement capitalism,” he tells me. “Bring the best of capitalism — its innovation, entrepreneurialism and competitiveness — and apply it to a generational imperative.”

Galvanize plans to invest throughout the climate tech ecosystem, but Steyer specifically pointed out his interest in carbon sequestration and agricultural technologies.

The bottom line: Private market investors spent years shying away from climate tech, scarred from failed aughts investments that were ahead of their time in terms of execution ability and market adoption. That pause is over.

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