Jan 4, 2023
SOSV’s Pae Wu shares a glimpse into the future of climate tech
SOSV general partner and IndieBio CTO Pae Wu speaks at TechCrunch Climate Session. Source: TechCrunch

Closing out 2022, TechCrunch+ compiled the top investor perspectives of the year across various sectors from climate tech to fintech to construction tech. The year-end compilation, “The best TechCrunch+ investor surveys of 2022”, featured SOSV general partner and IndieBio CTO Pae Wu’s thoughts on the future of climate tech. 

TechCrunch asked Wu two questions: Which emerging climate techs have the most potential for impact in the next 10 years? And what three climate techs do you see widespread by 2030?

Wu said the following: 

“Process-oriented technologies, like supplanting energy-intensive chemical production with scaled biology or electrically enhanced processes, will alter energy dynamics of heavy industry in the next 10 years.

2030 isn’t very far, so widespread adoption of what some may call bridge technologies is where I see real change coming. So many of our problems come down to human-level issues limiting implementation and a basic fear of change, so our disruptions need to keep chipping away at that fear of change.

What does that look like? Things like emissions-free, drop-in replacements for petrochemicals and materials for the built environment that are not dependent on a green premium. Some of these are far enough along to potentially make a run at petroleum.

Arguably, electric vehicles should be the easy answer to ‘widespread’ by 2030. But look, this is still a huge problem that touches every facet of our lives, and 2030 is only eight years away. In 2014, Hong Kong pro-democracy protests were raging, Moderna was creating a vaccine for Ebola and Russia annexed Crimea and ratcheted up threats to Ukraine.

Not much changes in eight years. In 2030, the U.S. will have exceeded expectations if even 15% of our light-duty vehicles on the road are electric by then—15% is tiny.

I sound very gloom and doom, but all I’m saying is it’s all hands on deck, and we need lots of solutions to hit at this from all sides. There won’t be a silver bullet, and if we investors are lucky/smart, we’ll get a whole bunch of climate tech Googles and Amazons — name your favorite giant disruptor — to bring to market while also successfully staving off the worst of climate change. We need everyone to be a winner.”