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Climate Tech

Mike Cannon-Brookes is ramping up the climate tech founder pipeline with Startmate

- May 4, 2023 2 MIN READ
Boundless Earth, Eytan Lenko
Boundless Earth CEO Eytan Lenko
Startmate and Boundless Earth, the philanthropic venture of Mike Cannon-Brookes, have accelerated their partnership to recruit and upskill 300 new founders and operators into climate tech startups over the next 18 months. 

Startmate has launched its inaugural Climate Tech Fellowship last week as part of the plan. The 8-week virtual program with Boundless Earth is running every six months across three cohorts of 100 people in Australia and New Zealand inspiring them to make the move into the climate tech sector. 

Startmate Program Manager Julia West said they hope to see a surge of exceptional talent enter the climate tech sector.

“We know people in Australia and New Zealand have the skills and drive to make a difference,” he said.

“We want to help them transition from caring deeply about climate change to actively working to solve climate problems.” 

Late last year Boundless Earth CEO Eytan Lenko announced the launch of Startmate’s Climate Tech Fellowship during Blackbird’s Sunrise Festival. 

Startmate should have no problem reaching the 300 target, having already received more than 1200 Expressions of Interest to participate in the program.

The program costs is $1,650, but Startmate offers full and half scholarships. Details about those are here.

Lenko told the first cohort last week that they are “changing the story” with their involvement in the fellowship.

“We need hundreds of thousands of Australians working in climate jobs in the next few years. But we need to provide pathways for people to join this industry, and we need to change the assumption that climate jobs are only someone hammering in solar panels in a field or building a wind turbine,” he said.

“Everyone can have a climate job – a software engineer, an accountant, a factory worker. The diversity of the participants in this fellowship is a great example of this. These are all skills we need as we transition to a zero emissions future.”

Over the next two months climate tech founders, operators and investors across AU and NZ, from organisations such as Climate Salad, Grok Ventures, Wedgetail, Artesian, Vow, Goterra, Great Wrap, Brighte, Fleet Space, Xylo Systems and Loam Bio will speak to the fellowship recipients about their experience and insights

Lenko said that a decade ago, being in a climate job felt a bit lonely.

“Today, it’s a different story. The number of people that applied for the fellowship gives me a huge amount of hope,” he said.

“It’s all about harnessing the passion around climate to get things done quickly. When people work under the assumption that change will happen and they build businesses and make decisions in companies with this in mind, then change actually does happen.”

Cannon-Brookes set up not-for-profit Boundless Earth last year as part of his $1.5 billion climate investment pledge. It uses philanthropy, investment and direct advocacy as part of a mission to turn Australia into a renewable energy superpower by 2030.

More about the Startmate Climate Tech Fellowship here.

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