COP27 has drawn to a close amidst much debate around the outcomes of this year’s conference, but what's harder to dispute is the phenomenal growth of the UK’s climate tech sector.
According to Tech Nation’s latest report, we’re leading the way in Europe for the number of homegrown climate tech startups and scaleups, and second only to the US globally. The same report highlights that, in 2021, a record $4bn in investment was raised by UK climate tech companies. Similarly, data from Beauhurst shows that over a third (37%) of cleantech startups/scaleups raised funding in the last 12 months.
This kind of buoyancy in such a vital sector is great news, but securing investment is only one of the keys to unlocking growth. Applicants to Tech Nation’s Net Zero Programme cited creating partnerships, expanding overseas, scaling operations, and hiring talent among their main challenges.
Navigating such obstacles is imperative for any business looking to fully commercialise its technology and build shareholder value. Often, it takes bringing in experienced people with a track record of solving these problems. For example, if a company is struggling to forge strategic partnerships, hiring a powerful commercial leader with proven skills in this area and a relevant, ready-made network, can be hugely impactful. Likewise, appointing a Chair or NXD with a wealth of industry knowledge, contacts, and credibility can open doors that were previously closed.
The same goes for scaling operations – many high-growth ventures find it difficult to install the right infrastructure to facilitate and keep pace with rapid expansion. This is where an experienced operations leader can make all the difference. A COO with a strong scaleup background will bring invaluable expertise in implementing the best structure, systems and processes to accommodate and enable continued growth.
For instance, we recently worked with Indra Renewable Technologies – one of the UK’s fastest growing EV charging companies – on their search for a COO who would develop a resilient manufacturing / supply chain strategy and lead the ramp-up in production. We helped Indra to find and appoint James Falla, a highly experienced COO, who had supported the scale up of operations to mass production at Ceres Power, growing market valuation from £10m to over £1bn.
Of course, hiring talent is a challenge in itself – even more so in today’s highly competitive market. The climate tech ecosystem is thriving, but it’s still a relatively nascent space, so finding people with a relevant and successful track record can be difficult and attracting them even harder.
The businesses that succeed at hiring ‘A-players’ are those with a strong, clear vision that goes beyond commercial objectives. Prospective candidates in this sector are often highly discerning and motivated by more than just professional opportunity. It’s likely they will be drawn to roles where they can have the biggest impact – not just on the trajectory of the company, but on the future of the planet. As such, when it comes to attracting talent, companies that can demonstrate the technology, strategy, and ambition to provide that scope have a huge advantage.
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For our part, we’re committed to working with pioneering climate tech businesses and doing what we can to ensure their success. For us, this means helping them find, attract, and appoint the exceptional leadership talent required to develop and commercialise sustainable technologies and lead the charge towards net zero.
If you’d like more information on our work in the climate tech sector, please download our presentation below, or get in touch.