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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.

Our Vision

A sustainable, prosperous, equitable climate future.

Our Mission

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 47 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, $7B 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 VC pioneers. Communications mavens.

Our dedicated climate 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—or 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 South Africa, India, and Singapore. 

 

Leadership

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Brant Richards

Managing Director

Brant brings over 24 years of experience to D3, working on all sides of the climate technology commercialization table as an entrepreneur, venture capital investment director, corporate innovation manager, and consultant. In early 2021, Brant joined D3 as its first Chief Operating Officer, leading P&L and operations initiatives and developing the heart of D3's accelerator and market-making programs. Having lived on three continents and done business in over 30 countries, Brant is committed to the belief that solving the world’s urgent climate problems requires an integrated approach which leverages and incentivizes a diverse chorus of collaborative voices.
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Cyril Yee, PhD

Senior Principal

Cyril has held a number of positions in the cleantech and investment industries. Most recently, he was the U.S. cleantech and energy lead at IP Group, Europe’s largest VC fund with over $1.5B under management. IP Group funds and spins-out high-potential technologies from partner universities and national labs. He was previously a principal in RMI’s China electricity practice. He led business development and strategy at INEOS Bio, a company with a gasification/fermentation technology that converts biomass to ethanol. With DOE and USDA support, INEOS Bio built one of the world’s first commercial-scale advanced biofuel plants. Prior to INEOS Bio, Cyril was a strategy consultant focused on private equity diligence, energy, and financial consulting.
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Elaine Hsieh

Principal, Outreach

As a recognized leader with over 20 years of industry experience across 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 and respect the interconnectedness of our world. Prior to joining the D3 leadership team, Elaine was the program director for VERGE at GreenBiz, focused on scaling solutions where technology accelerates systems thinking across cities and industries. She is also an award-winning sustainability influencer and advocate of women in climate tech.
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Josh Agenbroad

Principal, Research

Building from an engineering background, Josh worked for eight years consulting across a variety of sectors and industries, including automotive, freight, heavy industry, and electric and natural gas utilities, providing strategy and implementation at the company, city, state, and national level. He was also a Principal with RMI’s Sustainable Energy for Economic Development program, helping to coordinate the team’s effort working with governments and the private sector in countries across Africa. Prior to this, he spent three years as part of the China program, starting from the initial work in that country on Reinventing Fire: China.
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Hara Wang

Principal, Growth

Hara is a globally-minded climate tech innovator and practitioner. As a venture investor, she worked alongside entrepreneurs building and scaling next-generation energy, transport, and manufacturing solutions. As a consultant, she helped the world's largest institutional investors and industrial companies navigate the energy transition. As an engineer, she investigated opportunities for process innovations for Chinese solar PV manufacturers and built engineered clean energy systems for sub-Sahara African farming communities. Having advanced climate solutions across maturity stages, across verticals, and on four continents, she is now dedicated to accelerating the rate of climate innovation.
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Jon Creyts

Board Director

Jon is the Chief Program and Strategy Officer of RMI, where he manages 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.
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Danny Kennedy

Board Director

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.

 

Team

Carie Davis

Manager, Corporate Engagement

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 Hankins

Manager, Acceleration

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.

Lisa Jensen

Associate, Acceleration

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.

Ankit Kalanki

Manager, Investment and Research

With a background in mechanical engineering and energy technology and policy, Ankit is the technical lead and project manager of RMI’s Global Cooling Prize initiative, an international innovation competition to identify super-efficient and affordable residential cooling solutions with 5x lower climate impact. Prior to joining RMI, Ankit spent a combined four years working with a global food and beverage company as an energy engineer and as an energy efficiency consultant advising the government and several multilateral clients on scaling energy efficiency in India.

Alex Khripko

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.

Chetan Krishna

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 Kushner

Director, Outreach

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."

Sam Lefkofsky

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.

Dustin Masancay

Manager, Acceleration

With over a decade of experience in entrepreneurship support organizations, Dustin has played critical roles in designing, launching, and running accelerator programs for ASEAN high-impact social enterprises and communities. More recently, Dustin managed the APAC cohort of Facebook’s Community Accelerator, and government-initiated market access programs designed for Japan, Taiwan, and Kazakhstan startups looking to expand into the ASEAN market. Prior to his pivot into the entrepreneurial ecosystem, Dustin started his career as a management trainee for a tech gaming company and a business analyst for the Philippines’ largest telecom’s internal venturing unit. Dustin obtained his MBA from Nanyang Technological University, and bachelor's in Business Economics (magna cum laude) from the University of the Philippines.

Jason Prince

Manager, Growth

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.

Claude Rosen

Manager, Operations

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.

Caroline Winslow

Manager, Acceleration Strategy

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.

Brian Yang

Associate, Acceleration

Before joining Third Derivative, Brian completed his master’s degree in quantitative economics from New York University, while working as the junior fellow at EU-China Energy Cooperation Platform. Graduated from two top universities in China with two bachelors’ degrees in Electrical Engineering and Economics, Brian has an interdisciplinary background with a dedicated passion for the energy industry. His research interest is in energy markets, and he has had working experiences in multiple international organizations, think tanks, and accelerators. As a lifelong entrepreneur with deep loyalty to the environment, Brian joins D3 with the vision to fight for a sustainable future. Brian is currently based in New York.

Amos Zerah

Associate, Acceleration

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.

 

Advisors

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.

Elizabeth Hartman

Beth Hartman is a manager in the Office of the CEO and the Electricity Practice at RMI, where she supports initiatives focused on energy industry innovation. Previously, Beth was at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), working in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) to lead the Incubatenergy Network. This community of over 20 clean energy incubators and accelerators has collectively supported more than 500 startup companies. Prior to joining EPRI, she worked in roles including senior analyst at E Source and marketing manager at Simple Energy after the company completed the Techstars Boulder program. Beth has a master’s degree from the University of Colorado and completed a year-long fellowship at the Silicon Flatirons Center in the CU Law School, where she managed the CU New Venture Challenge student business plan competition.

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

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 Roeth

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 Stein

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 Zirnhelt

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.