houston innovators podcast episode 122
Climate tech investor says Houston has a multifaceted role to play in the energy transition
If the city of Houston wants to maintain its moniker of Energy Capital of the World, it has make strides within the energy transition — and that needs to be accomplished in a myriad of ways.
"Houston's role (within the energy transition) is multifaceted," says Eric Rubenstein, founding managing partner of New Climate Ventures, on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast.
Rubenstein founded New Climate Ventures to fund startups within the sustainability and climate tech space — which includes technologies that address circular economy, sustainably made materials, clean energy, and more.
"We have a talent pool here that fits pretty well in climate tech, alternative materials, and other spaces," he continues. "We have a customer base here that is going to adopt these new technologies."
The fact that Houston's major energy companies — of which there are many in town — will be the customers of emerging clean energy technologies positions the city as a hub for attracting innovative startups. Just last week, Bucha Bio, one of NCV's portfolio companies expanded into Houston. The New-York founded startup creates in textiles and composite materials made from bacterial nanocellulose, a much more sustainable materials production, that can be used instead of animal leather, polyurethane, latex, vinyl, epoxy, and more.
Rubenstein says Bucha Bio narrowed down its options to San Diego and Houston, before ultimately deciding on the Bayou City for its talent pool. The company, which is a member of Greentown Houston, is now based out of the East End Maker Hub.
"As these technologies are being spun out of labs, Houston has become a destination for these companies," Rubenstein says. "Bucha Bio isn't an irregular occurrence these days."
The missing piece of the puzzle is still venture dollars — and Rubenstein is on a mission to move that needle. This year, NCV is focused on closing its fund and deploying capital into early-staged climate tech companies.
"Our goal is really to watch for transformational change in the industries we're investing in," he says. "We're really excited about the technologies in the space and will continue looking for what's to come."
Rubenstein shares more about New Climate Ventures and the trend that is impact investing on the podcast. Listen to the full interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.