Climate change is the biggest problem humanity has ever faced. Experts say it will take $1 trillion of clean energy investments each year for 30 years to avoid the worst that is yet to come. Still, this sector remains chronically underfunded, and the investments that do exist are limited to a few technologies and led by large VC firms in metropolitan areas.
To change that, Raise Green, an investment marketplace for clean energy projects, announced this week it has launched its first crowdfunding platform, allowing virtually anyone with a bit of extra money to invest in green energy. Describing itself as a sort of “local and grassroots Green New Deal,” Raise Green aims to democratize the funding process for anyone who doesn’t want to wait for the government or larger financial institutions to act. It also helps individuals start their own projects.
“While Raise Green is just one piece of a much more comprehensive solution to climate change, it also doubles as an avenue for communities and individuals to join hands together in building the future that we want. A future that is centered around just, equitable, and sustainable practices,” founders Franz Hochstrasser and Matt Moroney said in a joint blog post. “As we have seen with recent Black Lives Matter protests, the COVID-19 lockdown, and economic turmoil: unrest incited from massive collective action issues can be converted into meaningful action — and ultimately big change.”
CEO Hochstrasser is a former energy and climate appointee under the Obama administration and COO Moroney, a data scientist, has more than 10 years of experience in the environmental and sustainability sector. Their company was nurtured by Greentown Labs, a climate tech startup incubator out of Somerville — the largest of its kind in the country.
“If we’re going to drive meaningful, long-term change in the fight against the climate crisis, we need more people and more capital to get on board,” Greentown Labs CEO Emily Reichert said in a statement. “At a time when investment in climate action is so needed, we are excited to see Raise Green’s tremendous efforts lead to the launch of this platform.”
Raise Green’s first offering — the National Energy Improvement Fund — helps residential and commercial buildings get energy efficient or carbon-reducing upgrades. Since the beginning of this crowdfund earlier this month, NEIF has received $46,000, bringing it nearly one-fifth closer to its end goal of $250,000.
Ultimately, Raise Green wants to offer a wide variety of opportunities, where people can invest as little as $100 and as much as $100,000 into projects ranging from solar power and water, to electric vehicle charging stations and affordable housing. The company says it has more than 50 other projects in the pipeline.