Beverley Gower-Jones has two roles:
(1) the Founder and Managing Partner of the Clean Growth Fund, which” invests in companies with products and services focussed on driving clean growth in the low carbon economy”; and
(2) CEO of Carbon Limiting Technologies, which “works with industry and government to commercialise low carbon innovations and accelerate clean growth”.
Our conversation covers:
-The need for a UK-based Venture Capital fund focused on early stage companies (pre-revenue or just about generating revenue) who need to build a commercial demonstrator to stimulate the next phase of their success.
-The different investor demands on a software vs hardware businesses.
-The story of founding the fund, and the personal and technical challenges of that.
-Why she sought public as well as private finance. And why they both, in her view, have to be exposed to the risks equally.
-The constant need, when doing innovation, to overcome inertia, where people choose to improve their current approach rather than explore the next. The book I mention is ‘The Modern Firm’ by John Roberts.
-Addressing the challenge of being a first-timer.
-The constant need for entrepreneurs to be able to describe a plausible route to investors to exit, with larger returns.
-The importance of government industrial strategy, especially the Skidmore Review on the economics of Net Zero.
-Their own playbook of where a company needs to get to as it grows, called the Commercial Readiness Levels (inspired by NASA’s Technological Readiness Levels).
-How getting to Net Zero will mean whole-of-society, whole-of-economy shifts. Every part of our lives will be touched. There will be a need for invention and diffusion everywhere.
This is part of a series of interviews about innovation for sustainability conducted for the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, as a contribution to a module in this Masters. You can find out more about these interviews, and the module, here.
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