Artwork for podcast Climate Insiders
Zero Carbon Capital - Fixing Diversity in VC with Pippa Gawley
Episode 516th May 2022 • Climate Insiders • Yoann Berno
00:00:00 00:33:11

Share Episode


Pippa Gawley is the Founding Partner at Zero Carbon Capital, a UK Climate Fund investing in early-stage companies that are on a mission to fix climate change through deep science innovation

She worked with eBay in the UK, moved to Silicon Valley and is one of the "re-immigrants" as she moved back to Europe.

There's a lot we will learn in this episode from Pippa:

  • how to crack the diversity problem in VC and Climate Tech in general.
  • the level of maturity of the London and UK Climate tech scenes, how many funds exist and why there are so few Unicorns yet.
  • How Pippa runs a VC fund with her husband.

I truly think you will enjoy this one. Pippa brings a unique perspective as a woman Fund Manager AND it's refreshing!

Listen and Learn

  • Zero Carbon Capital’s geographical scope, ticket size and strategy (1:40)
  • Pippa launched the fund with her husband Alex Gawley (2:00)
  • The biggest lessons she brought back from Silicon Valley to the UK (3:30)
  • The Climate Tech space is evolving even faster than the rest of Tech scene in Europe (5:30)
  • Only 2 Climate “unicorns” in the UK (as of May 2022). Pippa shares the reasons why (7:00)
  • Why we need more collaboration between funds and investors in Europe (8:00)
  • Their collaboration with Extantia who is LP in their fund (9:00)
  • How do we enable more diversity in Venture Capital (10:30)
  • The responsibility from Governments, LPs, and the Climate Tech community to help more women get (12:30)
  • Why they chose not to work with the UK government fund (14:00)
  • There are lots of angel groups that focus on women (15:40)
  • The triggering moment that pushed Pippa to become an Angel investor (16:00)
  • Why we need outreach programs to encourage friends to get into Angel investing (16:30)
  • Pippa’s positioning on funding Software vs Hardware startups (17:30)
  • Why Pippa only invest in opportunities where they can be additive (18:00)
  • Their decision to invest in less crowded verticals: industrial hardware, hydrogen leakage (19:00)
  • How Zero Carbon Capital runs technical Due Diligence and uses an external team of expert for sanity checks (20:00)
  • The one area where Pippa has completely changed her mind (21:40)
  • Why the laziness of the human species means we will need carbon removal even if the logic doesn’t make sense (23:30)
  • Why people love the idea of a silver bullet and why it unfortunately won’t happen (24:00)
  • The biggest learning and mistake since starting Zero Carbon Capital (25:00)
  • What Pippa would do if she had to start again (26:00)
  • Why we need more specialist Climate funds in the future (27:00)
  • Why the smaller funds will drive more impact than the bigger ones (28:00)
  • Pippa’s great networking recommendations to transition your career into Climate, expand your Climate network (30:30)
  • Why listening to Podcasts is the best advice to get up to speed on Climate (31:20)

Show Links


  • Shout out to the hundreds of Women in Europe already driving big impact in VC 
  • Why women are better investors, by Forbes → TLDR: they are better with "Research, Risk Aversion and Self-Control".
  • Studies show that women spend more time researching their investment choices. And while they do take on less risk than men when it comes to investing, that doesn’t mean they’re risk averse. Rather, they’re simply more likely to take on appropriate levels of risk with their investments than men. Both of these findings make for better investing outcomes.
  • “This prevents women from chasing ‘hot’ tips and trading on whims, behavior that tends to weaken men’s portfolios.