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Governments set climate goals, billionaire and their family offices solve climate change

Family Capital has for some time believed innovations driven by entrepreneurs, many of them very rich, will solve fundamental problems like climate change, not governments or climate change activists. 

Of course, government and climate activists play their role by highlighting climate change and how it is upsetting precious ecosystems around the world. But sometimes, they should credit the entrepreneur’s role in dealing with the issue of climate change more than they do now. 

Backers of the Series B round reads like a who’s who of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in the world

One deserving unqualified credit is a little known company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, called Commonwealth Fusion Systems. Remember that name, it might one day be as recognizable as Tesla, or at the very least, as transformative as the EV group. 

Commonwealth Fusion is developing the ultimate energy source, fusion, and it’s coming very close to making some serious breakthroughs in an otherwise challenging energy to manage. If all goes to plan, Commonwealth Fusion won’t just create fusion energy, but it will be commercially viable. That’s the really hard part with fusion. 

But perhaps more significantly from a family capital perspective, Commonwealth Fusion is backed by some of the wealthiest families and billionaires in the world. Without their backing, groups like Commonwealth Fusion only might exist within the physics departments of universities. Their commercial success would be doubtful. 

But some of the wealthiest and most successful entrepreneurs in the world believe it will be transformative, and this week a group of them, along with some institutional investors, just agreed to back Commonwealth Fusion to the tune of $1.8 billion. 

Backers of the Series B round reads like a who’s who of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in the world. They include Laurene Powell Jobs’s investment group Emerson Collective, Bill Gates,  George Soros’ Soros Fund Management, Louis Bacon’s Moore Strategic Ventures, Marc Benioff’s Time Ventures, and JIMCO Technology Fund part of JIMCO, the Jameel family’s global investment arm.

Many other billionaires are indirectly investing in Commonwealth Fusion through Breakthrough Energy Ventures – the Bill Gates’ founded group, which has attracted funding from many other high profile entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson, and Nat Simons, to name a few. Breakthrough Energy was part of the latest funding round for the fusion group. 

Commonwealth Fusion says the money will enable the company “to begin work on ARC, the first commercial fusion power plant….” 

How long that will take isn’t known, but it might be closer than we think. In September, Commonwealth Fusion said they had successfully tested the world’s strongest high-temperature superconducting magnet, the critical technology needed to unlock the path to clean commercial fusion energy for the world.

So rather than politicians shedding a tear or two about the depressing nature of climate change as some did at the recent COP26 environment meeting in Glasgow, perhaps instead they’d like to shed a tear in joy about Commonwealth Fusion’s contribution to resolving climate change.

Better still, they could begrudgingly admit the role of billionaire entrepreneurs in developing groups like Commonwealth Fusion. Without them, the world really would be in a sorry state. 

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