About Third Derivative
Global ecosystem, curated connections, built for impact.
We connect climate tech innovators with a deep network of experts and investors to achieve a brighter, more equitable climate future.
Why do climate tech entrepreneurs in some parts of the world get the funding, access, and resources it takes to bring great ideas to market, while others get neither the help nor the recognition they deserve?
Because funding and access are based on who you know, and what they know.
At Third Derivative (D3), we know we can only achieve the rapid, massive tech scaling needed to address climate change by giving more breakthrough thinkers a chance to participate and prosper.
By guiding and supporting climate tech entrepreneurs bringing new ideas and innovation to market, we are accelerating the clean future worldwide. Through a vast global network of deep experts, corporate partners, and investors, we help startups go to market faster with their world-changing ideas, create real impact, and transform markets.
A sustainable, prosperous, equitable climate future.
To build an inclusive, global ecosystem that rapidly finds, funds, and scales climate tech innovation and transforms markets.
Committed partners championing the world’s most promising climate tech startups.
Founded by RMI and New Energy Nexus, Third Derivative (D3) is accelerating the rate of climate innovation through our inclusive ecosystem approach, which rapidly finds, funds, and scales climate tech globally. We launched in December 2020 with 46 companies, the largest cohort of climate tech companies in the world.
By uniting and aligning committed investors, large corporates, and market and policy experts with the world’s most promising climate tech startups, D3 bridges finance and resource gaps to increase speed to market. Our flexible and highly curated accelerator program enables startups to focus on their unique needs and opportunities.
Today D3’s collaborative ecosystem includes $4T market cap of corporate partners, $8B AUM of investor partners (across five continents), and over 100 startups addressing climate challenges across all major emissions sectors. Together, we are moving markets to achieve a brighter, more equitable climate future.
Meet Our Team
Entrepreneurial trailblazers. Cleantech pioneers. Ecosystem builders.
Our dedicated climate tech ecosystem leaders each bring distinctive expertise to the table—yet all share the conviction that we must bring together innovation, expertise, and an inclusive ecosystem approach to solve the climate crisis.
We embrace complexity—including hard science and hard tech—and undertaking deep diligence on tough-to-understand, under-hyped solutions often overlooked by many investors and accelerators.
With a growing global team spread across three continents, D3 experts work collaboratively with teams concentrated in Colorado, California, and New York, and other core members stationed in India and Europe.
As a proven RMI leader and former entrepreneur, Rushad brings an empathetic, systems-oriented approach to scaling up climate innovation focused on results. Prior to D3, Rushad helped establish the Global Cooling Prize, a global innovation competition to develop a climate-friendly residential cooling solution. He also worked with the Energy Web Foundation, a partnership between RMI and Grid Singularity to develop promising applications for blockchain technology in the energy sector. Rushad also leads the Urban Transformation program, helping cities meet their goals for emissions reduction, livability, resilience, and equity. Prior to RMI, Rushad was the founding COO of WeGen Energy — a DER startup developing off-grid energy solutions and virtual power plants in the Philippines and Vietnam — and spent 6 years at McKinsey & Company in its sustainability, infrastructure, and private equity practices, leading projects in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
Bringing 25 years of experience leading and consulting on a wide range of sustainability, green building, clean energy, and technology issues, Elaine is passionate about the power of multi-stakeholder alignment and helping people understand the interconnectedness of our world. As part of the founding D3 team, Elaine helped establish its corporate partnership, outreach systems, and global presence. Prior to D3, Elaine was widely recognized as the program director for VERGE at GreenBiz, focused on scaling solutions that bridge technology, sustainability, and systems-thinking across cities and industries. She has also had careers as a green building consultant, utility business strategist, engineer, and technologist, and is noted as an award-winning sustainability influencer and advocate of women in climate tech.
Jon is the CEO of RMI and a co-founder of Third Derivative. Prior to becoming CEO, he served as the Chief Program and Strategy Officer of RMI, managing the strategy and execution of RMI’s global research and collaboration activities. He is an internationally recognized leader on global energy issues and climate change and was personally responsible for RMI Ventures, a global collaboration focused on accelerating early-stage climate solutions. He brings several decades of strategy, operations, and design experience to resource issues at the interface of markets and technology. Jon has worked extensively with officials at the highest levels of government, and with leading global companies and institutions both individually and in consortia. He has extensive experience in energy transition strategies, disruptive technologies (especially solar, storage, and blockchain), energy efficiency, and urban transformation.
Danny has been championing clean energy and climate protection for 30+ years. As the CEO of New Energy Nexus, he connects entrepreneurs everywhere to capital to build an abundant clean energy economy that benefits all. Danny is also the Managing Director of the California Clean Energy Fund and is an adviser to Young Greentech Entrepreneurs in China with the Asia Society. He is also the President of CalCharge, a public-private partnership with the US Department of Energy National Labs, universities in California, unions and companies, working to advance energy storage. Among many notable achievements, Danny co-founded Sungevity in 2007 and Powerhouse, an innovation firm and fund in Oakland, CA. He was the first backer of Mosaic in 2011, the $1B solar loan provider, and remains on the Board of Powerhive, a solar mini-utility in Kenya. Kennedy authored Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy—and Our Planet—from Dirty Energy in 2012.
Manager, Partner Activation
Carie began her career as a corporate R&D, design and innovation leader, and has worked both inside corporations and as the founder of her own consulting practice and tech commercialization accelerator for Fortune 500’s. Carie is now focused on supporting the growth of climate technology through her role at Third Derivative, partnering with corporations and investors to fund and deploy decarbonization technology. She also works on expanding capital access for women climate entrepreneurs through her syndicate, No Deposit, No Return Ventures, investing in founders addressing the plastic crisis.
Jamie has over seven years of experience spanning global entrepreneurship, international development, climate policy and financial analysis. Prior to joining D3, he most recently served as a Strategy Consultant at Signal Tech Coalition, a group of business and tech leaders advocating for market-based policy to decarbonize Colorado. Jamie also spent three years as a Global Portfolio Manager at Endeavor, where he oversaw a portfolio of 180+ high-growth startups spanning 40 international markets, and designed service plans to support founders through their unique scaling challenges. Earlier in his career, Jamie spent time living in Peru & Ecuador with an NGO delivering healthcare and development projects to rural communities, as well as two years as a Financial Analyst with J.P. Morgan. Jamie received his Bachelor's in Finance from Ohio University.
Jamie is a research intern with Third Derivative. Prior to joining D3, he studied Environmental Engineering at Stanford University and was a course assistant for Amory Lovins' popular class, “Extreme Energy Efficiency,” where he trained students to apply whole-systems thinking to complex design problems. Jamie has pursued a wide range of sustainability-related projects including marine mammal research on the gold coast of Australia and LEED analysis for a commercial real estate development firm in the SF Bay Area.
Lisa focuses on helping startup founders navigate the vast D3 ecosystem and maximize their success. Previously, she was Program Manager for Venture Out, a venture-backed service organization that helps tech founders launch and fund their startups. During her time, she helped design and implement programming for their Accelerator and Community. Lisa worked alongside world class technologists, top-tier angel investors and venture capitalists, and industry veterans to empower founders at the earliest stages of their entrepreneurial endeavors. She earned her Bachelor's degree from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington in 2020, where she was a Co-Captain of the NCAA Women's Soccer team. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the PNW where she grew up.
Manager, Ecosystem Programming
Alex is motivated by driving meaningful connections to scale innovative climate solutions. Before Third Derivative, Alex was responsible for the 'Start Up Energy Transition (SET)' platform at the German Energy Agency (dena). As a Senior Expert at dena, she managed and later oversaw over 2,300 start-up applications to the SET award across 5 years and expanded the SET network to become a staple within the global climate community. Alex also supported external organizations like the GIZ and the Elia Group with their own energy innovation activities. She has also interned at the GIZ in Kyiv, focusing on decentralization reforms, and has worked on indigenous rights for the Government of Canada. Alex holds a bachelor's in Public Administration and Policy from Carleton University and a Masters in Public Policy from the Hertie School in Berlin, where she is currently based.
Manager, Investment and Research
Chetan leads global transportation sector research and investments at Third Derivative. Prior to D3, Chetan worked with various academic and multilateral organizations in climate-relevant financing, policy, and innovation, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and International Finance Corporation. Most recently, he was an impact investor with 3i Partners. Chetan holds a bachelor’s in engineering from IIT Delhi and a master’s in technology policy from MIT.
Ryan is an expert in energy, climate, technology commercialization, and innovation ecosystems (incubators, accelerators, venture studios, prizes). He is the author of Accelerate This! A Super Not Boring Guide To Startup Accelerators and Clean Energy Entrepreneurship, sponsored by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, World Wildlife Fund, and New Energy Nexus, and featuring Y Combinator, Techstars, 500 Startups, Google X, and other innovation programs around the world. He is the Accelerator Guy/Global Network and Curriculum Lead at New Energy Nexus, founding team of the Free Electrons global utility accelerator, faculty at Singularity University in Energy + Environment, advisor to Carbon180’s CarbonTech Lab, founder of The Oceantech Community, and mentor at Techstars Energy and Big Ideas Ventures. His life mission is taken from Buckminster Fuller’s World Game, which is to "Make the world work for 100% of humanity (and life)", and his epitaph will be "Let’s All Have Fun."
Senior Associate, Investment and Research
Sam Lefkofsky is an associate with Third Derivative. Prior to D3, Sam studied mechanical engineering at Dartmouth College. During this time he developed a transactive energy business model for the New Hampshire Electric Co-op to increase adoption of distributed energy resources in the co-op’s member network. He also worked to reduce the college’s energy consumption through campus cafeteria energy auditing and teaching a course on green building.
Jason has a decade of experience in energy finance, markets, and regulation. Prior to Third Derivative, he was a manager at RMI where he led thought leadership and consulting projects focused on innovation in utility business models, planning, and procurement. Before joining RMI, Jason worked in structured finance at SolarCity/Tesla where he originated a first-of-its-kind $40M debt facility to monetize renewable energy credit receivables. Before that, he led the research practice at energy financial services firm Karbone where he advised clients and helped structure transactions in various U.S. renewable energy markets.
Senior Associate, Investment and Research
Lindsay is a Senior Associate on RMI’s Urban Transformation team, which works to put cities on a path to meet ambitious equity and climate action goals. Her projects focus on nature-based solutions, city cooling and reducing the urban heat island effect, embodied carbon, and urban planning and policy for meeting 1.5°C targets. Prior to RMI, she worked for Architecture 2030, a nonprofit dedicated to rapidly decarbonizing the global built environment, where she managed education and embodied carbon initiatives. Recently, Lindsay managed a global online conference on comprehensive building-sector decarbonization and led the research and development of the Carbon Smart Materials Palette, which identifies attribute-based approaches to embodied carbon reductions in both high-impact and “carbon-smart” materials. She also organized and co-facilitated a summit focused on wood, forestry, and the climate impacts and benefits of scaling mass timber.
Claude brings over a decade of experience as an operations and finance leader to the Third Derivative team. He is passionate about bringing business and analytical rigor to mission-driven organizations. Prior to joining Third Derivative, he worked as the Director of Operations at Homeless Garden Project and The Future Project. Additionally, Claude had the opportunity to work directly with 50+ organizations during his time at Nonprofit Finance Fund, an organization that pairs financing and consulting to support nonprofits through times of growth and change. Claude holds an MBA from Cornell University with a focus in Sustainable Global Enterprise.
Associate, Research & Insights
Raivat is an Associate with Third Derivative. He began as an intern on the team focused on green hydrogen research and startup diligence. Prior to joining D3, Raivat studied materials science and engineering at Lehigh University, after which he completed his master's degree in the same field at the University of California, San Diego. During his time in California, Raivat conducted research into innovative methods of generating green hydrogen using sunlight, and focused his coursework on materials innovation in the green energy industry.
Caroline is passionate about leveraging cross-sectoral collaboration, innovation, and disruptive technologies to accelerate climate solutions. Prior to joining Third Derivative, Caroline worked with the Carbon-Free Buildings program at RMI, supporting the Global Cooling Prize, an international innovation competition to identify super-efficient, climate-friendly, and affordable residential cooling technologies. While working on the Prize, Caroline established and managed a coalition of over 25 global nonprofit partners, recruited international Prize applicants, developed thought leadership pieces, and led the Prize’s global marketing and communications outreach. Caroline received an undergraduate degree in Environmental Policy from Colby College.
Amos is a life-long student and steward of Mother Earth. As a former commando officer, he is a passionate believer in the power of small teams of bold entrepreneurs to break conventions and save our home planet. Before joining D3, Amos led a wide range of international projects specializing in corporate sustainability, nature-based solutions, impact investing, and education. In his master's thesis, he combined remote sensing and ethnographic methods to investigate the relationships between climate change, forests, and Native American communities in Bears Ears, Utah.
Howard Branz, PhD
Howard is an early-stage technology consultant providing services to companies, investors, and government clients in all fields of renewable energy and sustainability. From 2012 to 2015, Howard served as a Program Director at the U.S. DOE Advanced Projects Research Agency – Energy, where he selected and incubated more than $70M of interdisciplinary technologies with transformational potential. Before ARPA-E, Howard was a Research Fellow at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). During more than 25 years at NREL, Branz led R&D groups to discoveries and new technologies in photovoltaics, nanotechnology, electrochromic windows, surface chemistry, semiconductor devices, optics, photoelectrochemistry, and materials science. His group pioneered inexpensive black silicon anti-reflection processes now fielded globally in over 20 GW of solar modules valued at more than $5B. Branz earned his PhD in physics at MIT and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
Dan Brett, PhD
Dan is Professor of Electrochemical Engineering at UCL, Co-director of the Electrochemical Innovation Lab (EIL), and Director of the UCL Advanced Propulsion Lab. He is an expert in electrochemical power systems with 20+ years’ experience in the field and is in the top five academics in Europe based on number of publications over the past 10 years on fuel cells, batteries, and supercapacitors. In his academic role, Dan has raised over £40M of research income and been acknowledged through awards such as the DeNora Prize (ISE) and Baker Medal (ICE). He is passionate about realising the ‘age of electrochemical power’ and accelerating e-chem technology to market. He is a founder and Director of Innovation for Bramble Energy, a founder and Director of Prosemino Ltd., and an academic founder and Expert Panel member of the Faraday Institution.
Stephen Doig, PhD
Stephen Doig is currently Director of Research at the Irving Institute for Energy and Society. Prior to that role, he was a senior leader at RMI for over a decade, led an effort to reduce the U.S. Air Force infrastructure footprint by 30 percent, and was a leader in McKinsey & Co.'s Operations and Resource Productivity practice. He has a PhD in physical chemistry from UC Berkeley and held postdoctoral positions at the Mayo Clinic and the California Institute of Technology.
Scott Forbes, PhD
Scott has worked closely with multinational corporations, universities, national laboratories, and government agencies over the last 20+ years to develop, license, and commercialize fundamental research and emerging technologies. He has led venture capital investments, new product development, and business development efforts in enterprise software, cloud computing, health tech, and cybersecurity. Previous employers include IP Group, Cryptography Research, Dolby, GE, Microsoft, and Nextel. He holds a PhD in telecommunications from The Pennsylvania State University, a JD from George Washington University, and an MBA from Indiana University.
Clea Kolster, PhD
Clea is an expert in carbon sequestration, climate, and energy policy. As Director of Science at Lowercarbon Capital, she brings her expertise to evaluate early-stage companies that are developing solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and actively remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Prior to joining Lowercarbon, Clea worked in energy consulting at E3, designing decarbonization plans for state agencies and energy companies across North America. Clea also founded a company working on financing and distribution solutions for clean cooking fuel access in West Africa. Clea holds a PhD and MEng in chemical engineering and environmental policy from Imperial College London.
Pulakesh Mukherjee is Managing Partner at Imperative Ventures. Before Imperative, Pulakesh spent ten years at BASF Venture Capital sourcing and executing investments in the energy, agriculture, chemical, and industrial sectors. Prior to his role in venture capital, Pulakesh gained over ten years of experience in international business development, sales, marketing, and chemical process scale-up while working at BASF. He serves on the NREL Investor Advisory Board. Pulakesh has a PhD from Stanford University and a M.Sc. from IIT Kanpur, India. He has published in peer-reviewed journals and has co-authored more than 15 patents.
Amory Lovins, PhD
Physicist Amory B. Lovins is cofounder, Chairman Emeritus, and until September 2019 was Chief Scientist of RMI, continuing as an independent contractor and Trustee. He has been an energy advisor to major firms and governments in 70+ countries for 45+ years; author of 650+ papers and 31 books (including Natural Capitalism, Small is Profitable, and Winning the Oil Endgame, and Reinventing Fire); and an integrative designer of superefficient buildings, factories, and vehicles. He has received the Blue Planet, Volvo, Zayed, Onassis, Nissan, Shingo, and Mitchell Prizes, the MacArthur and Ashoka Fellowships, the Happold, Benjamin Franklin, and Spencer Hutchens Medals, 12 honorary doctorates, and the Heinz, Lindbergh, Right Livelihood (“alternative Nobel”), National Design, and World Technology Awards. TIME named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people, and Foreign Policy, one of the 100 top global thinkers.
Mike, who has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for over 35 years, is the Executive Director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency and the trucking lead for RMI. Mike’s specialty is brokering green truck collaborative technologies into the real world at scale. Mike was awarded the prestigious 2020 L. Ray Buckendale Lecturer and manuscript author award. He has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the Ohio State University and a master’s in organizational leadership from the Indiana Institute of Technology. Roeth has served on the second National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine Committee on Reducing Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, is a Department of Energy Merit Reviewer, and served as Chairman of the Board for the Truck Manufacturers Association. He previously held positions with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.
Jay is one of the most widely respected energy technologists in the U.S. About half his career was spent at E Source, where for many years he ran the company’s research department. As a member of the management team, he played an important role in purchasing the company, quadrupling its size, and selling it in 2019. Since the sale, he continues to write and advise nonprofits. He also continues to affiliate with E Source, where he holds the title of Senior Fellow Emeritus.
Yuxing Wang, PhD
Yuxing Wang is a battery scientist at University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI), where he develops solid state batteries for aerospace and vehicle applications. UDRI is a national leader in scientific and engineering research, serving government, industry, and nonprofit customers. Yuxing has more than 10 years of research experience in energy storage materials and technologies, serving Department of Energy, Army Corps of Engineers, NASA, Federal Aviation Administrations, and other government agencies. Previously at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, he led the development of microbatteries for fish tags, which are the world’s smallest, commercially-available cylindrical batteries. Yuxing holds a PhD from Michigan State University. He is a frequent author and reviewer of peer-reviewed journal articles.
Hayes is an engineer with 11 years of experience working to decarbonize the buildings sector. He has worked as a technical lead and project manager on net-zero-carbon buildings and districts, including demonstration projects, transition strategies, feasibility studies, and technical thought leadership. Hayes also applies his expertise to help accelerate innovative technologies, working with emerging companies and also with accelerator programs and technology innovation challenges. His recent work includes supporting RMI’s Global Cooling Prize.