Friends of ClimateHaven

Most founders who are courageous enough to start a climate tech company are bold enough to dream big. That dream typically means building a company big enough to eliminate billions of tons of carbon and reach a billion dollar plus valuation. Investors want that, too.

But there are many steps founders must take to go from articles of incorporation to billion-dollar valuations. And founders should not assume that investors know or understand exactly what those steps are for each founder’s particular business. If investors are going to give you—the climate tech founder—their capital, then you need to articulate those steps very clearly to them.

In other words, for every round of capital you raise, you need an exceptional milestone plan. Oddly enough, founders spend too little time in pitch decks sharing their milestone plan. My two cents: move that advisory board slide with all those logos on it to the appendix and devote a bit more space to your milestones!

An exceptional milestone plan will detail:

  1. How you will use the money (i.e., hiring, marketing, legal R&D)
  2. What you will do with it (i.e., the actual product you will produce)
  3. How long it will take
  4. Why it all matters

The plan should culminate with a clear understanding of why the company is worth more at the end of its runway than it was at the beginning, which should give investors the confidence to put their money in now and comfort in your ability to raise more capital—at a higher valuation—in the future.

But milestone plans aren’t just important for investors. They can be helpful to founders, too. Milestone plans can be a meaningful way to unite team members around clear goals, align board members on priorities, and give the founders a means of monitoring progress. And if you beat your milestone plan, then you are every investor’s dream! Remember, most portfolio companies fall short of their plans. Be the exception and get adulation, attention, and more capital.

We’ve got some milestones of our own to celebrate. More on that below. In the meantime, nerd out on milestone planning in this week’s Startup Playbook Post.

Join Us At the Climate Tech Forum

Join us and our partners at Connecticut Innovations on Wednesday, March 27 from 3:00pm–7:00pm at District, New Haven for the CI Climate Tech Forum. This annual event celebrates the achievements of the Connecticut Innovations’ ClimateTech Fund and the amazing climate tech community we are building in Connecticut!

You’ll learn about the state of the climate tech market from a great panel of venture capitalists including Jenn Burka, Melissa Fensterstock, and Evi Steyer, moderated by Connecticut Green Bank President, Bryan Garcia. Then, network with climate tech investors, entrepreneurs, and many team members of the ClimateTech Fund’s 12 portfolio companies.

That’s right—12 companies. It’s been a lot of work over the past 18 months since the Fund’s launch. Much praise should be given to my Fund teammates–Konstantine Drakonakis and Drew D’Alelio. The best part—we have many more great investments to make in the next few years!

Register here for this marvelous event. We hope to see you there!

A Milestone for Our Team

This week marks the first time we’ve added two team members in two weeks. Allow me to extend a big welcome to Cecil Gilliard and Sophie Duncan.

Cecil joins the ClimateHaven team as our Operations Manager, where he will work with our members and community partners to ensure optimal use of our physical resources.

Cecil Gilliard and Sophie Duncan
Cecil Gilliard and Sophie Duncan

Sophie joins us as our Startup Engagement Manager with a focus on programming and marketing. In this role, Sophie will work closely with our members to deliver programming, address their challenges, and celebrate their triumphs.

We’re fortunate to have a small but mighty team that brings the expertise and the passion to make a real difference for the startups in our community. A BIG thanks goes to Casey Pickett and Haley Lieberman for doing the hard work of building this team and leading our community.

...And a Milestone for Our Organization!

One year ago (March 9, 2023, to be exact), ClimateHaven appointed its founding board of directors and officers and approved its charter to build an organization focused on passionately supporting climate tech entrepreneurship.

In one short year, we now have a brilliant 12-person board, an amazing 12-person team, and an inspiring community of 20+ startups across our incubator and accelerator programs. We’ve held packed events, delivered valuable workshops and programs, and brought together an amazing cross section of folks who see innovation as a means to solve the climate crisis.

How do we do all of this? With your support! ClimateHaven is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that relies on the generous support of some incredible partners—like the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven.

If you would like to support our work and deepen your relationship with the ClimateHaven community, then I have great news for you! You can! Donate here or reach out to me to learn more.

Transatlantic Climate Connections

Yes, you read that right! We started with Green Drinks, but we’re not stopping there. It is time to forge transatlantic climate alliances to save the planet!

Okay, that may be a bit dramatic. But the ClimateHaven team is very excited to welcome 5 Danish startups who will be traveling to the U.S. as part of the Climate Tech Catalyzer.

Climate Tech Catalyzer

The program is run by our partner Kaplak Ventures, and the Kaplak team will bring its cohort of Danish startups to the United States for a two-week tour. The cohort will spend one of those weeks at ClimateHaven from March 25–29. Join us at the March 27 Climate Tech Forum to meet the Kaplak team, the Catalyzer cohort, and to learn more about the program.

A Milestone for the Startup Playbook

We appreciate all the feedback and comments we receive on the Startup Playbook. It is great to know the advice resonates with founders and investors alike. There are many more topics to cover and posts to come and truth be told we do have a goal (50 posts!) which we will hopefully reach sometime next year.

Our hope is that these posts make entrepreneurship a little less hard (i.e., de-risk it!) for our founders, and the best way we can do that is to make the advice within them more actionable by bringing the Startup Playbook to life!

This spring, we’ll run a 5-part workshop series for our members which will cover some of the most challenging aspects of building an enduring business, including:

  1. Cap tables and stock options
  2. Building a board
  3. Hiring strategy
  4. Intellectual property
  5. Data rooms

If you’re a founder and looking to join us for these workshops, then learn more about how you can become a member and join the ClimateHaven community.

Final Word

The technology is great, but the best part about ClimateHaven is the people. Every time we bring our community together, I’m amazed at the brilliance, curiosity, and passion of the people in the room, all of which has me very excited for the opportunities we have to convene in and around ClimateHaven this spring.

Looking into April and May, keep Startup Yale (April 4-5), Green Drinks (May 2), the ReGen Accelerator Showcase (May 28), and the Yale Innovation Summit (May 29-30) on your calendar. Registration for Green Drinks and the ReGen Showcase will go live in early April and more programs, workshops, and meet-ups will be announced soon.

In the meantime, we hope to see you on March 27!

Until next time,


P.S. Follow ClimateHaven on LinkedIn, X, and Instagram to keep up on our progress between newsletters.

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