This is it, everyone. Final entry in the “What Will Dolly Parton Do? He’s 9 to 5 in the Climate Tech Sector” series. And this week, we wanted to take a sneak peek at the other side of the startup ecosystem: Venture Capital (VC) firms.
As we all know, to make the cut you have to live by Dolly’s doctrine of gender equality. Needless to say, quite a few companies were eliminated. Fortunately, Galvanize Climate Solutions was able to step up to the plate in the form of Saloni Multani, Co-Head of Innovation and Expansion.
I first met Multani on the excellent podcast Catalyst w/ Shayle Kann, where she was a guest on Kann. I was blown away by her eloquence and her ability to make her dry investment jargon understandable and interesting. So after one email and one heavily delayed flight to California, I found myself sitting across from Multani at a glass conference table at Galvanize’s San Francisco headquarters.
What I intended to be another Q&A-style interview turned into a fascinating discussion that lost all structure! Instead, here are just a few of Multani’s fascinating insights. (Some language has been changed for length and clarity.)
Funding IRA and climate technology
A quick note: Multani and I spoke in early August, before the Inflation Control Act (IRA) was formally enacted.
First, a more technical point. As discussed in GreenBiz’s “The State of Climate Tech Funding” webcast last week (featuring both Multani and myself), the IRA will affect every aspect of the startup’s ecosystem, and investors will have significant play a role. Multani broke it for me.
“as [Galvanize] When thinking about portfolio companies and IRAs, you should ask yourself some basic questions. Are there any policies related to our company? Are there some of our market-creating policies? Does it provide incentives? We pay attention to very specific and specific places where we can say, ‘There is clearly a market that will be catalyzed by this funding, so we should prioritize our efforts in this way.’ . “
Essentially, according to Multani, Galvanize and all sustainably partnered VC firms should want to be major players in helping create and accelerate new markets. And the IRA will continue to strengthen that relationship.
VC and GE (gender equality)
As a woman of color in the investment world, Multani knows very little of her demographic. When detailing her ten-plus years of experience, she states: [a previous employer], I don’t think there’s ever been a woman in a private equity group. ”
In 2022, women-founded startups across sectors have raised a total of $20 billion so far. Citing this incredibly low number, his Veery Maxwell, co-head of innovation and expansion at Multani, stopped by to say hello and offer his thoughts on the topic.
“Those numbers are clearly inadequate, but there are far more groups focused on actually convening women in business,” she said. He explained that much of the reason for being left out of the program was not a lack of competence, but a lack of mentorship and friendship. She told me, “There’s no shortage of great women who can and should start companies, but a lot of the time they don’t think they can raise the money, so they don’t want to take the leap.
Maxwell then listed Silicon Valley Bank’s new women’s focus group on a list that “brings together both investors and entrepreneurs.” But Maxwell and Multani are leading a “power women group,” the Women in Climate Group of more than 100 women in executive and investor roles. I agree.
When I asked how women would be able to access these groups, both co-chairs of the conference room agreed on the process. Both answers are below.
Maxwell: “Great question. Women usually pitch one of our female investors. Whether we move forward or not, we tend to agree that they are great, and we want to be part of the community. I invite you to, it’s not the most organized way, but let’s move on because we need to move on.”
Multani: “I think for new founders, there are a lot of referrals from management that bring people in. And you [speaking directly to Maxwell] It’s very intentional, including filling board seats in a wide variety of ways when the opportunity arises. “
Seeing these two women rightfully in power, supporting and celebrating each other at one of the top climate VC firms made me sob inwardly, this rare event. Thanks to Dolly Parton for letting me witness And let’s make this clear. It’s rare, not because it’s abnormal for women to support women, but because women are so often removed from these coveted positions.
Concluding our conversation with Multani, she reflected on her past moments of self-doubt. This is very similar to Sunfolding CTO Ley Madrone’s comments in her earlier WWDPD entry, stating: There’s no proven evidence that someone like you can be successful, and data suggests that this isn’t necessarily a fruitful path.
And this sentiment is what stood out throughout my Dolly Parton-themed series. However, their ideas and, more importantly, the indelible impact their ideas could have on the planet, was a testament to their perseverance and It was worth the confidence.
Living Carbon trees sequester greenhouse gas emissions at unprecedented rates, Sunfolding trackers expand solar energy capacity, Twelve reactors eliminate fossil fuels from industrial operations, and Galvanize is helping these ventures Raise and support funds to realize
“What Does Dolly Parton Do? 9 to 5 in the Climate Tech Sector” exists because 42 years ago Dolly Parton predicted that women would get the same results, pay and recognition as men. I wrote a song that accurately expresses the frustrations and limitations I face when Nearly half a century later, it is easy and fair to lament that the state of rights for those who identify as women is going backwards when it should be progressing.
But there are women who deserve our attention and admiration and are changing the world. Thanks to the Climate Tech Weekly community for reading and actively supporting my exclusive series.