The Fund That Has Been Investing In Climate For 20+ Years

SJF Venture VC Deep Dive
(Image: SJF Ventures)

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SJF Ventures invests in high-growth companies creating a healthier, smarter, and cleaner future. SJF’s mission is to catalyze the development of highly successful businesses driving lasting, positive changes across a variety of sectors: clean energy and climate, circular economy and logistics, mobility and govtech, health, education, future of work, and sustainable food. Through its investment funds, the firm provides equity financing to companies seeking growth capital to scale.

Fund Snapshot

  • Stage: Seed – Series E, with a focus on Series A and B financings
  • Check Size: $2-10M
  • Geography: Mostly US, able to make international investments
  • Lead/Follow: Both
  • Revenue/Valuation Thresholds: $1M+ ARR

About the Fund

Why was the fund started?

Sustainable Jobs Fund (SJF Ventures) was founded 23 years ago with the thesis that the clean energy economy could provide quality employment opportunities across the US. The idea was to invest in companies with both financial and impact returns without compromise. Since its inception, SJF has supported a range of geographies through its investments, with portfolio companies in 23 different states to date.

What domains in climate tech does SJF Ventures have expertise in?

Over time, SJF Ventures has developed its investment expertise across a broad set of sectors, covering both environmental and social impact themes. Through its investments, the fund is focused on mitigating climate change, conserving natural resources, growing sustainable food, advancing education access and outcomes, improving health, and creating greater economic access. Within climate specifically, the team is interested in innovations across renewable energy generation and deployment (extending to batteries, grid enablement, etc.), circular economy, mobility and transportation, climate resilience and risk management, and more. Dave Kirkpatrick, managing director and co-founder of SJF, is one of the impact investing field’s experts, and he has spent his entire career in the climate change mitigation space. He has extensive experience in renewables and the solar industry, which he utilizes in SJF’s investment work.

What type of portfolio support does the team provide?

SJF is actively engaged with portfolio companies, providing various types of support. Some examples include: introductions to relevant industry partners and investors, value-add project design, a suite of operational resources and best practice guides, impact measurement and management tools, and more.

About Investments

What is SJF Ventures’ investment process and timeline?

Each investment opportunity is assessed on a case-by-case basis. The timing, speed, round size, terms, and more can all vary, and as a result, SJF’s process has some built-in flexibility. Deal teams are made up of a Managing Director and one or two other members of the SJF investment team. Diligence includes a combination of items, depending on the company. A diligence process typically consists of connecting with the company’s management team, conducting customer calls, and consulting with experts in the startup’s field, in addition to assessing the financial model, customer pipeline, market, product or service, impact thesis and efficacy proof points, and more.

As part of its impact diligence, SJF looks to proactively identify ways in which the firm may partner with a company post-investment to “bend the curve on impact.” Beyond supporting companies to grow and consequently scale the embedded impacts of each business model, SJF works in partnership with companies to deepen and/or broaden the impacts of its own engagement as a value-add, impact-oriented investor.

About The Author

Daniel Kriozere

Daniel Kriozere

Co-Founder @ The Impact

Daniel currently works at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a Product Manager. Outside of his day job, he is a Principal at C3, Tech Scout at For ClimateTech, and Venture Scout at Prithvi. He also works with various climate incubators/accelerators (Cleantech Open, Techstars, and Joules Accelerator) and runs The Impact and Innovate Climate – both are newsletters covering startups in the climate space.

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