Breakthrough Energy Ventures has made seven more long-range bets on startups promising everything from fusion power to solar panels that capture water from the atmosphere – as well as a few more practical concepts.
Last week, the $1 billion fund that counts billionaires Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, Richard Branson, Masayoshi Son and Michael Bloomberg as investors announced its second round of investments, following its June stakes in next-generation battery startup Form Energy and underground pumped hydro storage startup Quidnet Energy.
The new roster of startups includes one more energy storage startup: QuantumScape, a solid-state battery startup which had already raised $100 million from Volkswagen Group, as well as investments from Kleiner Perkins and Khosla Ventures, the firms of BEV investors and Silicon Valley venture capitalists John Doerr and Vinod Khosla.
The startup has installed them in eight countries, as well as in U.S. test deployments in California and at a Duke Energy facility in North Carolina.
Fervo Energy is a San Francisco-based startup working on “Enhanced geothermal systems,” tapping the technology of “Mixed medium stimulation” to expand the energy output of both existing geothermal sites and new sites that can’t be effectively tapped using today’s predominant vertical well technologies.
BEV didn’t disclose how much money it has invested in each startup, although it noted that it has invested about $100 million of its $1 billion fund to date, with typical investments ranging from less than $1 million to about $20 million.
This model hasn’t worked as well for startups exploring energy technologies that require years of upfront R&D in partnership with universities or national laboratories, as well as long-term relationships with utilities and well-capitalized energy industry partners.