March 3, 2023


For the Love of the Planet

An Introduction to ClimateHaven

I am partnering with a brilliant group of folks to launch ClimateHaven, a climate technology incubator rooted in New Haven, CT.  Allow me to explain the what, why and how of ClimateHaven below.

What is ClimateHaven?

A Climate Haven is a place to which people can escape from the inhospitable conditions caused by climate change.  It will be increasingly common for people around the world to seek climate havens. For many climate refugees, the need to seek a climate haven exists today.

This definition of Climate Haven makes the name ClimateHaven all the more important. ClimateHaven pays homage to its roots in New Haven, Connecticut, and respects the fact that decarbonizing our planet is a moral imperative.

So ClimateHaven – as a newly founded organization – embarks upon its goal of creating a world-class community of climate tech entrepreneurs and the people that support them. With the financial backing of some amazing partners (which we look forward to announcing soon!), we have secured a home at 770 Chapel Street in New Haven, a block from the city’s historic green and three blocks from Yale University.

This initial location affords us the unique opportunity to tap into the deep well of brilliance at Yale and work with amazing founders spinning climate technologies out of the University’s labs and classrooms, illuminating a pathway for them and encouraging them to commit their talents and creations to the fight against climate change. Equally important, our location connects us directly with the entrepreneurs in the New Haven community. We have the true privilege of sitting a few floors above MakeHaven, a maker space with an abundance of physical resources and a passionate community of its own.

Within the walls of our space, we will aim to accomplish a lot. Incubate amazing climate tech startups. Provide brilliant founders with unwavering support and a group of peers upon which they can lean. Offer advice on the big questions and give answers on the little questions.  Present opportunities for investment, hiring help, and customer acquisition. Convene our community for networking and insightful discussions.  And build the network of partners and places beyond New Haven that will help the entrepreneurs scale.  

Why are We Doing this Work?

Climate change is one of those rare issues that unites moral imperative and economic opportunity. The push to decarbonize our economy will require decades of effort and trillions of dollars. Moreover, we don’t have all the innovations we need to do it, let alone the foresight to understand exactly how all these technologies will fit together.

That is where climate tech entrepreneurship comes in, providing the invention and innovation we will need in order to create a robust regenerative economy.  In doing so, entrepreneurship can be a powerful means of building prosperity for the entrepreneurs, their team members, and the communities they serve.

But climate tech entrepreneurship is hard. Really hard. In many instances, entrepreneurs are developing novel technology over long periods of time and deploying that technology into highly regulated markets. Even more troubling, the entrepreneurs are aiming to disrupt incumbent industries that are essential to and deeply integrated into our economy.

Yikes. Those are some serious obstacles, which is why a community of climate tech champions can be very valuable to the climate tech entrepreneur. Amazing things happen when you equip brilliant founders with the tools and resources they need. And when you sit them alongside other founders doing different, yet equally challenging things, they learn from each other and can lean on one another.

I’m not saying there is an easy formula to make climate tech entrepreneurship easy. But a strong community is a powerful way to make it less hard.

And for the love of the planet, an unwavering commitment to climate tech entrepreneurship – from those founders inventing new technologies to those rapidly deploying existing ones – is our best choice!

How We will Do It: A Charter for ClimateHaven.

Climate change is such a big problem that is easy to get sucked into wanting to do everything. Policy, advocacy, research, workforce development, philanthropy, and so many other ways to work in climate.

There’s all that work to be done, and then there is ours to do.

What is ours to do at ClimateHaven? Climate tech entrepreneurship. Call it our north star. It will be our focus, and for this reason it is the easy choice for # 1 of our 10-part charter, which we will use to guide our daily efforts in building this community:

  1. An unrelenting focus on climate tech entrepreneurs. In building each part of our community, we’ll ask ourselves the question: does this help the entrepreneur?
  2. Invest in the accelerants. In due time, if we are successful in decarbonizing our entire economy, then we will all be working in a climate company. The opportunity comes in asking: what technologies are going to accelerate our efforts?
  3. Invest our time and money. Entrepreneurs need more than a high-five. They need good advice, helpful connections and capital to push their technologies forward.
  4. Make space for all. Build a community that pursues entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, cultivates a welcoming and open environment, provides platforms for diverse voices and perspectives on climate tech entrepreneurship, and recognizes that entrepreneurship is a privilege that must become accessible to more people.
  5. Know our place(s). Recognize that ClimateHaven’s impact and reach will extend beyond New Haven. We must be incredibly thoughtful of how we grow to ensure we create the strongest network that is the most useful to the entrepreneurs in our community.
  6. Don’t get caught up in our own business. Which means we must constantly remind ourselves of # 1. Our focus is such a useful way of empowering our team.
  7. Be transparent. Sharing how we build ClimateHaven will only help our team, our entrepreneurs, and community understand the opportunities and challenges that exist in climate tech. And it will keep us honest!
  8. Work with good people. Life is too short. More importantly, working on generational systemic change like climate change isn’t easy. Working with good people makes it much easier.
  9. Have fun. Let me say it again: life is too short and this work can be too hard. Best to smile and laugh while we are doing it.
  10. Recognize the ups and downs. But let’s be honest with ourselves. The challenges of this work and the challenges of our world means there are times when it will all feel like too much. It is okay to not be okay. And in such circumstances, having a community of good folks to lean on can make all the difference in the world.

For the love of the planet, let’s do this!

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