‘How We Survive’: Journalist Turned VC Molly Wood Talks Climate Tech

The perfect cannot be the enemy of the good. It’s the motto by which journalist-turned-climate-tech investor Molly Wood makes her investment decisions.

Last month, during a keynote at GreenBiz 22, in Scottsdale, Arizona, Wood explained how her experience as a multimedia business journalist covering technology, economics and the climate crisis had led her to work in venture capital. She is the Managing Director of Launch, a VC that invests in early-stage climate solutions.

“I’m leaving the media to become an investor working with all the climate technologies that I’ve been so obsessed with for the past three years,” Wood announced in November when she made the switch.

Wood is known for integrating the themes of climate technology, climate justice and resilience into her reporting. The “How We Survive” podcast with Marketplace tackles the economic, technological and human stories behind climate adaptation. She also co-hosted select episodes of This Week in Startups alongside the show’s founder and CEO, Jason Calacanis. Wood said she really wanted to take the approach of reporting on climate technology when talking about solutions, which began about four years ago.

The motivation for getting involved in the Climate Tech VC movement was personal. Wood said her hairstylist introduced her to climate scientist Inez Fung, who basically said, “We’re at the point where we’ve tipped to a certain level” when it comes to this climate crisis, and we need some news. technological solutions now. That’s when Wood realized she wanted and needed to do more about this issue beyond keeping people informed about her reporting.

How we survive with lithium batteries

Wood describes herself as a solution-oriented girl who doesn’t like talking about problems. instead, she sets about mending. His long-running “How We Survive” podcast, which includes eight episodes, discusses how technological solutions will affect the climate crisis, the possibility of change and the obstacles that may arise. The narrative focuses specifically on batteries, including lithium mining and the lithium supply chain in the United States. When Wood was researching renewable energy, many roads led to lithium, so she followed the topic in a way that would be appealing to mainstream media.

“I’ve been obsessed with batteries for several years because they seem to be a big deal in the transition to renewables,” Wood said. “Yes, it’s a podcast about lithium and batteries, but it’s about indigenous peoples’ rights, eco-terrorism, crazy stories of commercial espionage and it’s about the communities that are affected or who desperately need these solutions in various ways.”

When we think about formulating solutions, we need to be very honest about who is involved, what it means, and how we communicate and talk about it.

As she explored this topic, Wood said what struck her the most was “how humans are human.” What she means is that there are always reactions to people’s actions. She also said that creating real solutions to fight climate change requires more honesty and tough choices.

“As we think about formulating solutions, we need to be very honest about who is affected, what it means and how we communicate and talk about it,” she said.

Some of those tough choices include whether to mine lithium in the United States, Wood said, which could be labor-intensive and not be the most environmentally friendly practice.

Wood’s move into the climate tech venture capital space

Solar and renewable energy are some of Wood’s main areas of focus for venture capital investing. There are many potential inventions that will be game changers, she said, but she is looking for those that will have the greatest impact on consumers and behavior change.

“There will have to be silver bullets in Silicon Valley. It’s part of our solutions matrix. A matrix that includes everything, we need everything,” Wood said.

What will it take to get us where we need to go?

Wood concluded his “How We Survive” talk at GreenBiz 22 with a call to action: We need to get to work now. She said companies creating tech solutions to tackle the climate crisis need to be brutally honest about what might go wrong with their solutions – and then share those solutions with the world because they can help in other areas. required.

“Perfection cannot be the enemy of the solution,” Wood said. “If there is an answer, we need them all.”