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Why join a climate tech company?

by Steven Zhang · updated Oct 1, 2023

Here's the thesis of ClimateTechList:

If you are a software engineer:

  1. Joining a breakout company furthers your career growth.
  2. Joining a climate tech company lets you build stuff that matters.

Venn diagram on climate change solutions and software engineer career growth

So why not do both by joining a promising climate tech company? These are the companies we feature on this site according to our methodology.

We break down our reasoning as follows:

Why joining a climate breakout company is good for personal career growth 

A company's breakout period aligns with max personal career growth

  • Good odds of financial outcome: high growth companies strike the optimal balance for stock option risk/reward. Exit is very likely, the bigger question is about how big the exit will be.

  • Credibility: joining a high-growth startup can be a source of instant credibility.

  • Network: some of the best founders/engineers that we know in the valley are joining climate breakout list companies. For example, at least 19 climate tech companies have been founded by ex-Tesla employees and a similar number by SpaceX alumni

Why joining a climate tech breakout company is socially impactful

Each year, the world releases 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, trapping heat and driving up global temperatures. We need to reduce this by half in the next 10 years to avoid catastrophic effects (mass migration from sea level rise, mass famine from crop failures, extreme weather events).

This is the defining problem of our generation.

In addition, because climate change threatens to act as a general "stressor" on society, mitigating it might have positive effects on other areas, such as reducing the chance of large-scale war.

Reducing our reliance on burning fuels also reduces air pollution, which causes millions of deaths per year. See: "Fossil fuel air pollution responsible for 1 in 5 deaths worldwide" from Harvard School of Public Health, "Air pollution contributes to 11.65% of deaths globally" from Our World In Data, World Health Organization data set

We need bold and large solutions, and these impacts will disproportionally come from the climate tech companies that grow the fastest.

Why software engineers are critical to climate tech companies

  • The recent climate transition provides an unprecedented alignment where parts of a societal problem can be solved with technology and money
  • Many of these companies have critical paths involving software and are aggressively hiring software engineers
  • Checkout our many company profiles for answer to this question specifically