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Get to Know Nick Lyth, Founder and Greentech Expert

Updated: Feb 14



We sat down with a few of the future-leading revolutionaries taking the stage at Tomorrow Matters in 2024. This week, we’re shining the spotlight on cleantech pro Nick Lyth.




 



Nick Lyth is Founder and President of Green Angel Ventures - which he founded in 2013 as an experiment to specialise in climate change early stage companies - with ten members and two company investments. It now has more than 300 members, 43 companies in its portfolio, manages its EIS Climate Change Fund, has attracted a £10 million commitment from BBI’s Regional Angel Programme, and was UK Angel Syndicate of the Year in 2019.


Nick will be returning to the Tomorrow Matters line-up to join the panel ‘Money Matters: Attracting Investment and Securing Funding’, where he will help start-ups craft a compelling narrative showcasing ROI potential and create a sustainable business plan, all while preparing for investor due diligence.


From current trends to risk management to investor advice, we asked Nick a few key questions ahead of his panel. Check out the full interview below!


 

Can you share a bit about your background and journey that led you to become an investor in the cleantech industry? What inspired you to focus on sustainability and clean technologies?


'Impatience with the spectacular failure of our business and political worlds to get to grips with the problems building up and breaking over our lives. I first became involved in what is called Cleantech more than 20 years ago. I spoke out about the use of language to blur and muddle the problems. Sustainable Development was incomprehensible for most. Cleantech was - and is - a ridiculous word. What does it mean? No two people define it in the same way. I pleaded for simple language to explain simple problems, for which the solutions were anything but simple. Without this, a muddled approach would mean muddled and ineffective solutions. 


Our problems then were all about resource use. They still are. How we use resources, or misuse them, especially energy, has had and is having a decisive impact on the quality and character of our lives. I set up an international applied research institute which was the first to be devoted to resource use technologies, and then set up the only angel investment syndicate to specialize in these technologies. The first was a struggle, but the second has really come to life. 


Investment in the technology innovations required to change our systems from a hydro-carbon base to a non-hydro-carbon base is more and more in demand.'



 

What current trends or developments in cleantech and sustainable investment do you find most exciting or promising?


'I think all the best opportunities are in the neglected areas which must be sorted out to give us any chance of arresting and reversing global warming. The single biggest source of carbon emissions in the UK is domestic heat from gas boilers (if you disaggregate transport, which is collectively larger). We are still a long way from the technology innovations that will transform the generation of domestic heat efficiently and affordably. Agriculture and food are both similarly under-invested and are a big opportunity for the right technology innovations, as is Water Management. The areas which have received disproportionately more investment are renewable energy, and electric vehicles. These are not such exciting investment opportunities now. They are mature.'


 

Are there specific areas within cleantech that you believe present particularly attractive opportunities for investors?


'The biggest challenge of all is Nature-based Solutions (NbS), which are still a long way from being commercially viable, but without which we will never be able to arrest global warming let alone reverse climate change. Eco-system regeneration is the challenge which no one yet understands, but which will be a huge investment opportunity. We have to save nature because only nature can save us!'


 


What role do you think cleantech thought-leaders play in advancing the cleantech agenda on a national and global scale?


'Climate change will not be reversed without Government regulation. Thought-leaders are required to build up popular pressure to make the politicians do what is necessary. The politicians will otherwise pursue whatever course they believe will win them votes. COP 28 is an illustration of the confusion this causes, and is a consequence of thought leaders lobbying in multiple directions. Clever men and women have been briefing on both sides, with equal credibility, and cancelling each other out. Meanwhile, the world burns, freezes, floods, or disappears, in the case of the Antarctic ice cap. There is no unity, no common agreement, no common purpose. In these circumstances, regulation will not accelerate the climate change technology agenda.'


 


How do you approach risk management in the cleantech space, and what advice would you offer to investors looking to navigate and mitigate potential challenges?


'Start campaigning to change regulation. Risk can and should be mitigated in all climate change technologies by government regulation. I would say to them that, if they want a world fit for themselves, their children, and their grandchildren to inhabit, don't just invest, do something to load the dice and make sure that what needs to happen does happen. Then your investments will succeed, and your lives, your children, and grandchildren's lives, will be viable.'



 

Connect with and learn from other cleantech changemakers like Nick from across the industry in February at Tomorrow Matters - the green hub designed to launch world-changing solutions.


There's never been a better time to get a jumpstart on your next big step in cleantech; plus, our Early Bird ticket prices are still available until January 31st!










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