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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announces $1bn global clean tech investment fund

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UK clean tech startups could benefit from a $1bn investment global fund announced by Bill Gates.

Gates will lead a group of heavyweight investors – whose combined wealth totals approximately $170bn – including Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Microsoft’s co-founder told Quartz that the fund, called Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), could invest in “anything that leads to cheap, clean, reliable, energy”.

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“People think you can just put $50m in and wait two years and then you know what you got. In this energy, space, that’s not true at all,” the billionaire entrepreneur added.

Despite, this Gates highlighted that the energy sector was an “uncrowded investing field”.

He added: “It’s such a big market that the value if you’re really providing a big portion of the world’s energy, the value of that will be super, super big.”

Investment strategy

According to the fund’s website, BEV is looking to invest in technologies that could help reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions by at least half a gigaton.

To do so, BEV will be on the lookout for companies with an existing scientific proof-of-concept, and able to attract investment from sources outside the fund.

“The most transformative ideas are emerging out of research institutions; the challenge is in getting these ideas out of the lab on the path to commercialisation,” reads the website.

The fund will take a flexible approach to early stage companies, providing Seed, Angel and Series A investments across a wide range of sectors including industrial processes, transport and agriculture.

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