Inside Breakthrough Energy: Climate Tech's Powerhouse (feat Partner Allegra Kowalewski-Ferreira)

Climate Insiders

Sep 13 2023 • 42 mins

In today's show, I'm receiving Allegra Kowalewski-Ferreira, Partner at Breakthrough Energy Europe.

We cover:

- Discussion on the world's largest Climate Tech fund

- Exploring Bill Gates' actual role in the fund

- The fund's investment decision-making process

- Cultural differences between the US and Europe in Investing



Learn all the insights from the top Climate Tech Founders and Investors. Listen to the stories behind the startup successes, understand the drivers of investment decisions, and become a true Climate Insider.

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Allegra is an investment professional passionate about innovations that can address climate change, and driven by the process of partnering with entrepreneurs to accelerate their development and maximize their impact.

She is currently a partner at Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a 2bn+ USD climate-focused venture fund structured to last 20 years and dedicated to backing disruptive technologies to decarbonize the economy at large (electricity, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, and building).

Before the family office, Allegra started her career in a corporate finance boutique (Semcap) that quickly diversified its consulting business with the launch of Belgium’s first equity-based crowdfunding platform (MyMicroInvest, a.k.a. Spreds), supported by an early-stage investment fund (Inventures). As a co-founder, Allegra raised funds & closed deals on behalf of 7 entrepreneurs.

Finally, Allegra graduated as a Business Engineer from the Solvay Business School (University of Brussels) amongst the top 5 of her class.



00:00 – Intro

00:48 - Daily life of the partner at Breakthrough Energy Ventures

03:54 – Breakthrough Energy Ventures US and Europe - Fund Status and Management Overview

05:59 – How are differences and similarities managed within the team with the same goal?

07:07 – How to get into Breakthrough Energy ventures and why is it so hard?

11:14 - Breakdown of Breakthrough Energy Entities

12:20 – How to land a partner role?

15:01 - Unraveling the Role of Bill Gates at Breakthrough Energy

17:32 - The Dynamics of Breakthrough Energy's Investment Committee and Internal Structure

20:51 – What is the best approach that promotes collaboration and ensures the best possible investment decisions?

22:17 – How do you decide in which sector you should invest in?

24:54 – Is Breakthrough Energy’s primary focus on impact or financial returns?

26:29 – What is the actual performance of Fund One? What is next?

27:20 - Demystifying the Speed of Success – How fast does it happen?

29:16 – Does Breakthrough take a hand-on or hands-off approach?

31:20 - Does Breakthrough Energy adhere to strict valuation discipline or maintain a more flexible approach?

33:56 - Navigating Cultural Differences in Startup Support: US vs. Europe

35:27 – What are the profound cultural differences between the US and Europe when it comes to storytelling and marketing in entrepreneurship?

37:43 – Is Belgium catching up in the climate battle?

39:31 – How to achieve the balance between technological innovation and policy innovation in addressing global crises?

41:28 – Outro



Yoann Berno is committed to the democratization of climate tech investing, to contribute significantly to the fight against global warming. Passionate about empowering individuals striving to make a difference in addressing climate change, he is renowned as the podcast host of Climate Insiders. In this role, he dedicates himself to showcasing the...

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