Climb By VSC: Episode 41

Published August 16th, 2023

Shomik Dutta is a dynamic force in the climate investment landscape. As the Co-Founder and General Partner of Higher Ground Labs venture fund, he brings a unique blend of experience and expertise to the table. With a background in private equity renewable energy, Shomik has a deep understanding of sustainable solutions. His journey has been nothing short of remarkable, having served as an Obama White House aide and contributing his skills to the Obama ‘08 & ‘12 campaigns. Shomik's advisory role to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski further underscores his commitment to meaningful change. Prior to his impactful roles in climate advocacy, he honed his financial acumen through his work at Morgan Stanley investment banking. With a trailblazing career spanning multiple arenas, Shomik is a driving force behind the intersection of innovation, policy, and investment in the pursuit of a greener future.

From Climate Politics to Climate Tech - Two Sides Fighting The Same Crisis

Vijay Chattha: Welcome everyone to another episode of Climb, where we bring on company builders and investors that are helping founders and climate and sustainability figure out how to scale and today I'm excited to have on show Shomik Dutta, who is not only an entrepreneur but also an investor now at Overture VC, an early-stage venture fund devoted to nurturing climate startups and helping them win government support, which is a unique value add. Dutta also co-founded and sits on the board of Higher Ground Labs venture fund, and before that, had a stint with the Obama administration, serving as an aide in the White House and advisor to the FCC. He was also part of Obama's 2008-2012 campaigns and the transition team. So with that, welcome to the show Shomik.

Shomik Dutta: Thanks, man. Nice to be here. First time someone's nailed my pronunciation. I've Americanized my name to my own shame, but what you just did is get it right.

VC: Hey, man, I've been working on a 20 year campaign to go back to Vijay from Vijay (VeeJay) in college. So,vrebranding is hard. So thanks for coming on. Like I think as we've gone through this journey of finding investors that really are passionate about helping founders, I've really enjoyed our conversations we've had, you know, and also I love the unique aspect of over two screens on the table. So like, let's go back first, like, you know, tell me about how you got into politics first, tell me about that experience with Obama and then we'll get into how that's kind of taking you to where you got.

SD: Yeah, you know, you'll appreciate how much my Indian father, my Baba, you know, disapproved of my decision to be in politics, but I really did see it as kind of, trite as it might sound now, as the best way to help the most people. And to this day, I think there's a real honor in being able to serve publicly and be able to do right by lots of folks who don't have as much voice and I just got very lucky and had this front-row seat. I was with Obama in 2007 when he announced his presidency in Springfield. And we were kind of a laughingstock. No, I mean, we were down 45 points at one point to Hillary Clinton in the summer of 2007. And it was an experience where I made my closest friends and sort of cemented that conviction that if you believe in something fervently and work like a demon, you can produce extraordinary outcomes. You know, Bill Gates has a great line that everyone overestimates what they can do in one year and underestimates what they can do in 10 years. I think the same is true in politics. And if you think about long time horizons, you know, Obama's first campaign took two years and eight years in the White House. When you add those 10 years together, the amount that he was able to accomplish was extraordinary. And so I just, you know, he's the right of a lifetime. But when you do something like that, you kind of have to move on. Otherwise, you're that old guy that's kind of holding on to the past. And so I reinvented myself, rebranded myself and fell in love with venture and fell in love with this zero to one phase.

VC: Get it and tell me about those early days. So Iowa, you guys were there? How many? What does the team look like at that stage? Like, are you there?

SD: Yeah. So I was one of four fundraisers when I joined across the country. My turf was the Mid-Atlantic. And you know, the earliest you know, there are missionaries and there are mercenaries in every industry. And the thing that I love most about the early Obama days, it was all missionaries, and everyone was there because they believed in him. No one was there because they wanted to be the ambassador to the UK , you know, and the opponent at the time did have some folks like that. So it was really fun to be able to be with a team that really believed in doing the right things for the right reasons. And actually the climate today kind of reminds me of that, you know, folks that are paying the most attention that are most active right now, for the most part are doing the right things for the right reasons. And there's a certain harmony you can feel in a community and you know, the community I took away from my closest friends in the world today are all Obama 708 Folks, and even when you see them in the wild, there's such a sense of trust and love from that experience and in the climate. Actually, there's some interesting Obama folks that are now playing a big role and additional my partner's folks like Donnie Baird, at Black Power are Obama friends and so it's fun to be able to root for them.

VC: So let's talk about Overture. So, tell me about the fund. Where are you guys cutting checks how big and what's the pitch to founders on the sort of value add?

SD: You know, I heard my friend Ian from Cantos talk about how in venture capital, the customer is the founder. And I love that analogy. And I steal it all the time now and so apologies to you, but it is true that the customer is the founder and a lot of venture funds feed the customer the same stuff. And I wanted to find a way to combine the things I truly love and find interesting, which is to work with my friends, to invest in climate and to have a government and political sort of role in the thing we do. And to us the government is playing the central role right climate is fundamentally and negatively priced externalities and this press externality. The government is going to play the role of the banker, the referee and the buyer in a lot of cases, and yet there are no funds that deeply understand the government or what's happening in it. A lot of the founders come from Silicon Valley or from government or from academia. And are kind of trained to move fast and break things. And this is not you know, what they think about first, second, third or fourth. And at the early stage, particularly to see no one really has the bankroll to go hire a $40,000 month lobbyist. And so that just all represented whitespace to us. And so what we built was a venture fund that focuses on the early stage loosely from pre seed to series, a writing million dollar checks, and the pitch to founders is invest in us and get a permanent government constabulary team to help you think about what's happening in the government to be your outsourced government affairs firm at the right time to go identify your insourced government affairs firm and be someone you can call on not because you're paying a monthly incremental fee, but because we're on your cap table until you do well. And so that kind of alignment I think is really fun. We've been at it for about a year and a half now and we're starting to build a you know, tiny brand and I can't tell you the most rewarding part of it is that I'm working with three of my best friends that I've known since 2007. One of my co-founders, Brandon Hurlbut, was the Chief of Staff at the US Department of Energy. He was an early Climate and Energy adviser to the president in the White House and the Kevin affairs office. He started the RP program as the Chief of Staff he sat on the Investment Committee of the loan program, and has since run the most successful government affairs firm in climate called boundary stone partners. And so we've partnered with boundary stone and when we invest boundary stone supports our founders for a full funding round within kind services. Another one of my partners, Michael O'Neill was an early Obama fundraiser, and then worked at Airbnb after the White House, the earliest side of the company, helping out build out their state and local practice. And my other co-founder Timmy Murad is a legendary software entrepreneur who was a financier for Obama. He's a Lebanese guy who went to community college for a year and ultimately went to UCLA and I borrowed a little bit of money from his father for his first company, which he returned 1,000x capital to his dad on and built another subsequent software company for an eye watering outcome. And so we have this merry band of folks that have known each other since 2007. Some have backgrounds in technology, entrepreneurship, others in politics others in investing and it's just fun to be able to hammer together and work.

VC: That's great. And when do these companies need that kind of lobbying support? Have you found any trends? I'm sure it's by subspecialty of what they do, but like what if I'm a founder right? Now I'm raising, taking a million from you? What are my immediate concerns? And just maybe if you walk me through maybe an example or two.

SD: Yeah, I think that at every stage it is relevant and in the same way that CEOs are trained to spend 10% of your time on fundraising, whether you're raising a round or not, and you spend 15% of your time on HR, whether or not you're actively hiring, you need to devote a percentage of your time to government and it's not a muscle that comes naturally to folks. The timelines are different and often frustrating. A lot of CEOs are planning on a quarterly basis when the government takes years as I alluded to on that you know, not 10 years hopefully for you, but, you know, that takes on a different time cycle. And so learning sort of what to be considering in your incentive structure and in your time management in government, how to run a stakeholder analysis of who the stakeholders are important to you. If you're building a first of a kind plant, where are you building it? Who are the stakeholders who might have a say in the permitting or in the support of it? I think that matters of the preceding seed Series A, irrespective of what you're doing, you need to start thinking about it. Now. You may say, Look, I'm at an incorporation stage and I'm just getting my you know, an f1 You know, PowerPoint together and fine, we might not be the right time to engage just yet. But the earlier you engage, the more you're in the ether of decision makers the better outcomes that we have seen in the past. As an example, we were fortunate to be early investors in a company called mTOR and Torez, a thermal storage technology that's decarbonizing industrial heat itself, a huge driver of emissions. About half of all US electricity is used for industrial processes today, and thermal storage itself. I mean, the demand for heavy industrial heat is about a $140 billion market in North America alone. And so these three Stanford guys came together and built a company to decarbonize industrial heat, and we pitched them cold. I called Andrew the CEO and pitched ourselves and they said, you know, no friends, we've got Bill Gates and Kousaka. But to join our cap table, why do we need you and it was fortunate that boundaries don't actually does some of the public loving support for prominent folks including Bill Gates, and so we got references checked and we're lucky enough to get included in the round four and tourists specifically we built an engagement strategy we've been at times boundary stones engaged in formal lobbying for the company. Adam Franco was a close friend of ours who ran government and public policy for a number of years. And so whether or not you're engaging in identifying non dilutive grant capital, building an engagement map of who should matter for a company, or maybe even specifically hiring the Government Affairs staff when the time is right, that's all stuff that we can do to sort of take off the CEOs plate so they can just go hammer on product and go to market and then the other things that they're good at,

VC: Where do you draw the line between what's included as being in this deal versus now it sounds like you guys, you know, this company needs to maybe invest with cash or in other ways into additional like, what where's that line between what's included?

SD: Vijay, there's nothing I won’t to do for my founders, I don't know what you're talking about. No, joking. It's hard man. No, you're exactly right. And especially for companies like Boundary Stone that's a business that's used to cash multi retain clients. And so that can be some of the trickier conversations to have. You know, fortunate proof in the pudding, though, is that almost all of our companies have elected to continue working with boundary stone on monthly retainment agreements past the first funding round that we throw in as mankind and so that's kind of our demarcation. We can then

VC: that makes it like a lead gen for them, that they kind of provide a little guide. That's great. Awesome. Now, let's talk about some more things. Politics. Okay. How has it shaped your thinking about growing these companies? Maybe different than if you just went straight finance or went straight into a startup and then started a fund. I know that there are a lot of Government Relations working with what you're doing but just maybe more like personality wise, has it shaped the kind of founders you want to back versus others because you've been in that world? Tell me about how politics has shaped the founder’s personality traits.

SD: Well, I'll tell you, the kinds of founders that delight me the most are the deeply technical ones that can zero into your level of understanding and have a great conversation. I keep coming back to Antora it's one of my favorite companies. The CEO Andrew, you know, is brilliant and technical and is able to zero in to where I am and have a perfect conversation with me without coming across as you know, patronizing or frustrated and those kinds of founders the ability to kind of tune to your frequency is something that I took away from politics, some of the most talented people we met, you know, guys like Steve Chu is Nobel Laureate in physics. He's able to tune to the frequency of the person he's talking to and have a great conversation and I took a lot of that away from sort of founder conversations that I came to love to have what I will say generally, though, is that you know, the ability to shape the sandbox and the rules in which we play. That is the sole jurisdiction of political power. And that's why I think engaging in a political process is so useful and important. When you look at actions like the city of Brookline recently, which bans natural gas connections to new homes, when you look at what hyper local state action and municipal action is able to do to say to you know, delivery companies Hey, a third of all the zones in our city, for example, in Santa Monica are now must be delivered to buy EB trucks. Imagine what that does to build new markets fast. And so it's not just getting involved on the Government Affairs side to say, here's my thing. Will you help fund it? Can you get me some non dilutive grand capital? It's also thinking through all of the state and local actions that can shape markets themselves and define the sides of that sandbox. And I think that's the single most underinvested aspect of climate today. I think it is to preach to the already convinced and ask them to get in the game. And so you know, running hyper local municipal referendums, for example. Building State tables has power and asking voters to jump in and add voice to things that matter. That's the thing that's under invested in and the thing I'm really curious to be able to do as a former professional, political operative myself, like at higher ground labs, my last fund we invested in a lot of political technology startups. And so there is super advanced precision local polling, and you can build coalitions of the willing and go pick a fight. And I think that's the thing that CEOs should be thinking about constantly because it's an ability to accelerate the market the term itself and grow it really quickly overnight. You know, when you don't when you can't use the fossil fuel cousin at all. That's a compelling way of moving markets fast.

VC: Yeah, no, what you're bringing up is very interesting and reminds me of something that I heard from Aly over at Tonal, so fitness hardware company, he said, basically, he's like, Vijay, I have three companies here. I have a hardware company, a software company. And a brand. It's three different businesses and climates. It seems like there's at least a companion to scale, a story to tell and a political campaign that runs all at the same time, right? And the story could be for investors and customers and all these things, but like, it's like you have to run multiple businesses in a climate and one of them is policy, right? It's politics.

SD: And then the storytelling point is so keen here. It's so interesting, the way we are all subject to so much information overload. You have no idea where a positive impression of a business first germinates and the ability to tell your story well, and the press directly to customers. That's the other huge pain point I see over and again and so it's cool that I think VSC is like you know, probably a more attractive cousin to Overture, but I'm rooting for you, too.

VC: Yeah, look, we're all in the same game, which is, what are the tools needed to be successful? And who can provide them and repeatedly help scale these companies? But let me ask you questions now about your process of looking at investments. Can you give an example of companies where, like, you're excited about two out of three things, right? Or three out of four? And like, what are the most common reasons why maybe Overture doesn't do a deal?

SD: Yeah. You know, I've learned to become a lot more disciplined on valuation and to understand where we have our limits. We have informal limits in our model. And we try not to breach them too often. But the place where I think I most often get to is if I fall in love with the problem that the founder is trying to solve, having maybe identified that problem already in an investment thesis or otherwise, there's a natural cognitive bias to think that's brilliant, but the problem they're solving and the approach and the founder and the technology must line up perfectly with the founder being one of the most important of all of those over and again, and so I think the deals we've gotten the closest to that I'm glad we walked from or where we resonated with the problem being solved, but the founder of the technology that go to market to not line up and really founder comes down to the single most important decision despite everything else and it's a trite thing to say on a podcast yet again. But it's the founders that are just you know, the visionaries that you realize are special. Spending time to identify them and investing in them as early as possible is the single best way we've had the good fortune to have success. You know, the example would precede an investor in a company called Arcadia run by a friend and caring about Roger. I did not know Kieran before investing in the company, but it was a meeting with Kieran. The sole basis for my investment was caring and it is today one of the most successful VC investments I've ever made in my life. And it really just comes down to extraordinary founders.

VC: How quickly can you tell on a zoom? Who is extraordinary?

SD: It's so hard. I think the hardest thing is that you get caught up in your own biases. We all have appearance, biases, group biases, and they're all a work in the back of our heads tricking us into thinking that someone is special, but it might just be because of the way they appear that they appeal to some kind of group bias we have or superiority bias we have. And so this is the hardest question, and I don't think I have a perfect answer to this day. Apart from having lots of diverse teams that we work with and making sure that diverse team feels the same way that I do.

VC: Can you do that? Are you doing group calls? Or is it like you do the first call? Some of these folks talk second to these companies. How do you solve the recent sort of that bias?

SD: I think a lot of it comes down to separation and numbers. And so a lot of it is like ranking founders on paper and not sharing rankings before. We then come back and talk about it to see how folks reacted separately, not sharing individual valuation. Notes on the founder until everyone's had a chance to speak with her and that stuff is really important but this bias question I'm still not I'm like haunted by I think we should all be haunted by these biases because there's so deep wired in our, you know, evolutionary DNA. And so I'm not sure we'll ever overcome them fully because part of the bias is not even wanting to confront uncomfortable things.

VC: What are you advising your companies on in this current market, right where it looks like series ease and above? A little locked up? Is there anything uniquely climate related that you've advised them on? Are you guiding them on besides what you know most other generally people talk about saving, you know, conserving burn, etc. But are there any particular nuances you're seeing in climate?

SD: You know, one of our values is to focus . We try to stick to our knitting on what we really know. Well, I candidly, Howard Marks has this great article on the futility of prediction. And it's an essay about how we are all terrible macro predictors of things and so I try to stay far away from it. The place where we are encouraging companies to think about is that these is this IRA money is about to start flowing, if you qualify for something like 45x, which is a provision so for the first time since World War Two, United States government is paying OEMs to make things speed and scale are the key during the years where this is gonna go the fastest and so really tuning to the frequencies of like, where there's funding available today. You know, we have some companies that will turn negative cogs for building hardware, because the 45x they will turn an incremental profit just from having built the thing before they sell it, sell it. And so there the question is really how to get as much volume together as humanly possible. In the coming years that is almost immune to the macro kind of vagaries of the market, given what the IRA represents. And so for those companies, it's a very different conversation. You know, the General General bearish sentiment I think is interesting as a lay, you know, futile prediction guy that shouldn't even be talking about macro. It does seem like a soft landing is more likely than not right now. You're looking at strong jobs reports, you're looking at strong earnings reports and increasingly dovish fed, but you know, those things are hard for me to say with any certainty. It certainly seems the public market bounce has not yet come to venture in growth but not my area of specialty cannabis.

VC: Yeah, well, Tech IPOs had fun for a couple of years there they probably make sense to be in the doghouse for a couple more months but it looks like I mean, it looks to me like my side is q1, q2. Stripes gonna go public. They've already messaged that last January. So I feel like that's going to be the start, even though it's not a climate deal. But we all need bellwethers. You know, and we're seeing non tech IPOs. Now, like kava and others are coming out so it's positive to see but it's a very good point you make which is that each industry is different. This IRA is going to provide a lot of opportunities that probably need to be jumped on immediately, and others that can wait longer. How about, you know, where are you seeing next in terms of policy in the US? Do you think we're done now until the next election cycle? In terms of any new policies that can come to market? Do you see different things happening on the local or regional level like what? Like educating our listeners on what to look out for?

SD: I think the local and state actions are going to be the most interesting things to pay attention. To. To your right that legislatively in an election season, you can expect almost nothing to get through. I do think permitting reform, which seems to be an area of bipartisan consensus, is very interesting. And the general decoupling from the China supply chain is just a theme that will continue to play out particularly in semiconductors and solar, wavering and other things. But in blue states you know, as mentioning this sort of tribe of the already convinced you have record budget surpluses in blue states and extraordinary climate agendas that are getting pushed through. Now overture just had the good pleasure of hosting Governor Hueco for lunch, the governor of New York in LA that my partner Michael O'Neill pulled together and it is just extraordinary how fast they're moving. They have proposed a $30 billion climate budget, the state of California passing a $54 billion climate budget. The State of Washington has an LCFS program. They're instituting Governor Pritzker in Illinois. is moving fast. And those are areas where you can really start understanding manufacturing incentives, where you're going to domicile your manufacturing playing the different state incentives and municipal incentives. And qualifying for state funding is a whole other sort of turn to this like it's very interesting. And so that's where I would be spending time thinking about but in the federal government, I think this permitting reform stuff is gonna get very interesting. And then a series of executive orders that Biden can pass you know, things like the defense emergency production, stuff he's done on heat pumps can be extended to other areas. And I think that's an interesting rifle shot that the Biden administration is going to use very smartly that I think it'd be interesting to watch, but the central sort of focus of the Biden administration in climate is going to be interpreting and executing on this Iraq stuff and making sure money starts flowing quickly.

VC: Yeah, it makes sense. So I'm gonna wind this down with two questions. A couple of questions. One more about your personal journey and, and things that you've learned. So like, and then I'm gonna we've got some hot takes, but like, best advice you were given

SD: To take your work very seriously, and don't take yourself seriously. Right, and I've managed to stay very true to that.I like to have a good time. I like to laugh at myself. And I'd like to encourage everyone to not take themselves too seriously. There's too much. There's, you know, when folks come in too seriously, it ruins it for me. I like to laugh.

VC: Okay, and then how about personal things like, what are your hobbies? What are your passions if you know if a planet was saved tomorrow?

SD: Drinking with my friends is unfortunately like my greatest passion and hobby. I love to play poker. I played very competitive poker. I'm a violinist. I'm a concert violinist. I've been playing the violin since I was three. So my buddies and I have a band called Taj and in the halls and Taj Mahal, we do weddings. Now in the halls, my co-founder, Michael O'Neill is a very talented guitarist. My buddy Tommy plays guitar. My buddy downplays people.

VC: You know, did you know I had a band right here called Black Mahal? Come on. You can zoom out on it. I love it. It is funk and hip-hop. I'm one of the rappers.

SD: I love it. We gotta get you ready. Should we tell the audience a preview of climate chat?

VC: Yes, we're having an event. September 18. In New York.

SD: If you are an Indian or Asian American working in climate, we are forming the informal climate mafia right now and the first rule of it is climate mafia shot is that we always talk about it on VSC podcasts. So please shoot us an email if you're interested in attending. We are in and out of a delicious Indian restaurant on the 18th of September in New York.

VC: And we're getting premium drinks included for two hours. All right. So okay, so we talked about your political journey to hear the overture of the value-added government policies that are coming through the pike. Let's shift to some just to shift to politics for some politics. So do you get DC candidates running right now? Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy like what's on your mind?

SD: Vice President of the United States?

VC: Oh, is she running?

SD: She's gonna be running. Yeah,

VC: I guess de facto. Okay. Let's give you your thoughts on all three.

SD: I love Kamala Harris. I think she's a once in a generation talent and the other two are not for me. I think I'll give you a hot take. I think that bipartisanship is a joke for the climate folks that are trying to ensure they rip climate out of the national political conversation. A failed attempt is a useless attempt. I think engaging on the local level is very important on a bipartisan, nonpartisan basis. But the tortured analogy I give and this might get me in some trouble is that you know, you don't see the gun lobby and gun manufacturers going to Democrats trying to cut deals. Democrats want to take guns off the street. And the same is kind of true of climate startups. The Republican Party does not care about climate startups at the national level. On the local level. 65% of all renewable energy projects are happening in red states. But I think shying away from partisan activity on the national level is a big mistake because ultimately, Biden's only had two years since the IRAs passed, he's going to need a second term in order to get this money out and start flowing. And the single greatest threat right now to the IRA is a Trump or DeSantis administration trying to piece it apart. And so finding a way to engage your voice as a climate founder particularly if you're a climate founder or an investor, getting involved in national politics and helping tell stories at the national level to advance political power for Democrats. I think that's a central obligation. I think I would argue it's a commercial and fiduciary obligation to founders and understanding and how to do it carefully so that you don't piss off your local representatives is important, but that's something that I'm happy to chat with anybody offline or online about anytime.

VC: That's fantastic. And let's talk about that. What are the ways that people should be doing this? So storytelling is one. It's articulating the value that you're providing in the local community? Maybe what you're doing for America, what you're doing for the country and the climate? What are the other ways? Are there other sort of behind the scenes ways? Is it about donating to certain candidates or what?

SD: Yeah, I think you know, my co-founder, Brandon, started a great organization called Clean Energy for America. They've got 6000 clean energy entrepreneurs that are in association that have built to see three and a C four to take political action. I think that's a great organizing first step. I think finding the elected officials and competitive races near you in battleground states and getting involved with their campaigns, helping with fundraising, helping with storytelling, as I mentioned, you know, for the first time in 50 years, we're looking to build a lot of things in this country. It's really exciting. There's an economic industrial revolution taking place on the ground with multibillion dollar plants being built in next generation jobs, coming back to America and being it being able to tell that story in vivid ways to voters is going to be an important, you know, channel for us and we I think we're at this kind of tipping point right now, where you're seeing a lot of pushback on ESG commitments you're starting to see when and gas companies tiptoe back from their obligations. You're even seeing rumors at COP that China is starting to walk back its emissions targets without any kind of accountability and so at these kinds of tipping points, I think it's really important to arm our side with the most energy and the most money in the best storytelling.

VC: I love that. And it lets us get to just the last question, Biden. I mean, how do you feel about his turn so far?

SD: I think it's been one of the most impressive presidencies we've seen in modern history. And the amount of things that he's gotten done. The amount of bullets that they've dodged has been extraordinary. And I think that the most the concerns I have right now are that the Democratic Party has become the party of a lot of affluent, well educated, political operatives, and there's not enough sort of working class focus in the party. And that's something that Biden has changed. You know, Biden has worked in class foods. The IRA is fundamentally a bill about helping middle and working class Americans access technologies that are just cheaper, faster, better and decarbonized and so being able to follow that thread, and ensuring that the Democratic Party is focused on working class folks, and is not just sort of taken hostage by a bunch of Yale grads, that's a really important thing. And that is a thing to watch and climate to, right. I mean, like if you ban natural gas connections to homes and make people buy very expensive heat pumps without support. You're very quickly going to lose a huge swath of voters. And so that's an important thing to sort of keep in mind as to why the IRA has a lot of carrots is because if you just use sticks, you lose a huge swath of the electorate.

VC: And how confident are you that his team understands what stories to tell? For the candidate?

SD: Their chief storyteller is a guy named Ben. He's a very close friend of mine as well as communications director. They are extraordinarily talented, what they need is help with on the ground details. So if you are a climate founder or an investor listening to this right now, and have specific stories as to how the IRA is going to help create jobs and move faster, and not just decarbonize the global economy, but also help create a generation of new jobs for folks that need them. You know, get in touch to want to hear the stories. The one year anniversary is coming up.

VC: Fantastic. Shomik we could talk for years. We will be talking sounds like there's two mahal bands that need to be proud of.

SD: As long as you don't try to be a Taj then you can join. There's only one or two more hals.

VC: Thanks for your time today. Thank you for joining. If you gotta find Shomik, All right. Thank you so much. Appreciate your time today.

Thank you so much for reading our latest update from VSC Ventures Fund I. We're in the early days of our long and healthy partnership with all of you, so please reach out to us with additional questions on anything above. Thank you again for your support for our vision and our fund!

Vijay Chattha & Jay Kapoor

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