Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and a consortium of high-profile investors are backing a new $1 billion (£790 million) venture fund that will invest in clean energy technology.
It’s called Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), and it has a broad focus. “Anything that leads to cheap, clean, reliable energy we’re open-minded to,” Gates told Quartz
Alongside the Microsoft-cofounder-turned-philanthropist and the Amazon CEO, there is an array of top investors and industry leaders backing it — including Virgin’s Richard Branson, Bridgewater Associate’s Ray Dalio, John Doerr from Kleiner Perkins, LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures, Alibaba exec chairman Jack Ma, Facebook cofounder-turned-investor Dustin Moskovitz, and Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son.
In short: There are some seriously big names behind it. Quartz suggests that, with the group’s combined total wealth of $170 billion, it could be the “richest group of investors ever assembled.”
It’s dedicated to investing in green and clean energy technologies, to try and tackle the threat of climate change and move humanity onto renewable energy sources.
“The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is a partnership committed to broad investment in new energy technologies,” BEV says on its website. “We are investing our own capital and are working with over 20 countries around the world who have committed to significantly increase their investments in the basic research that leads to breakthrough innovations.”
It adds: “To provide reliable and affordable power without contributing to climate change we need to address emissions in five key areas: electricity, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, and buildings.”
Gates, since stepping down as Microsoft’s CEO in 2000, has devoted ever more of his time to philanthropic efforts. With tens of billions of dollars at his disposal, the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation varies from working on sanitation solutions to trying to stamp out malaria.
Back in November 2015, Gates and other tech leaders including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg launched the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which brought together more than 25 investors, The Guardian reported at the time. The launch of BEV is the next step in taking action to try and tackle climate change.
“To provide everyone in the world with access to reliable, affordable power, food, goods, transportation, and services without contributing to greenhouse gas emissions will not be an easy job,” the organisation says.
“Developing the tools we need will require broad investment across a landscape of innovation—and no investor or group of investors can do this alone. Breakthrough Energy is committed to encouraging a wide network of public and private capital to work together to solve the problem.”