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Podcast – My Climate Journey Ep 174: Ion Yadigaroglu, Capricorn Investment Group

Today’s guest is Ion Yadigaroglu, Partner & Member of the Investment Committee of Capricorn Investment Group.

Capricorn Investment Group seeks to deliver extraordinary investment results by leveraging market forces to scale solutions to global problems. One of the largest mission-aligned investment firms around the world, Capricorn has grown to manage more than $8 billion in multi-asset class portfolios for families, foundations, and institutional investors.

Ion is a Partner and member of the Investment Committee of Capricorn Investment Group and a Managing Director of Capricorn’s Technology Impact Fund. Prior to Capricorn, he was a Director of Business Development with Koch Industries, executing a range of acquisitions and investments. Before Koch Industries, Ion was a founder and Chief Executive Officer at Bivio, a software startup in Colorado, and an Analyst for Olsen & Associates, a foreign exchange analytics company. He was a research fellow at Columbia University and holds a Masters in Physics from Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich in Switzerland and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Stanford University. Ion is also an early investor in iconic technology companies, including Tesla, SpaceX, Planet, QuantumScape, and Saildrone.

I was looking forward to sitting down with Ion and learning more about his work at Capricorn Investment Group. Ion walks me through his climate journey, what motivated him to focus on climate, and an overview of Capricorn and the Technology Impact Fund. We also dive into capitalism’s effect on the planet, the role policy plays in a sustainable future, and the Technology Impact Fund’s investing strategy. This is a great episode for investors and founders alike.

Enjoy the show!

You can find me on twitter @jjacobs22 or @mcjpod and email at, where I encourage you to share your feedback on episodes and suggestions for future topics or guests.

In Today’s episode we cover:

  • The origin story and an overview of Capricon and the Technology Impact Fund
  • The distinction between Capricorn and the Technology Impact Fund
  • Ion’s time working at Koch Industries and the criticisms of the Koch Brothers as it relates to climate change
  • A discussion on whether American capitalism can factor in collective good when focusing on profits and shareholders
  • A conversation about if capitalism and the free market can get us to a sustainable future
  • The north star for the Technology Impact Fund
  • How the fund evaluates opportunities to invest and what their criteria are
  • The various sectors that the Technology Impact Fund focuses on
  • The stages the fund typically comes in an and the most common check size
  • Areas of climatetech that Ion doesn’t think are ripe for venture capital
  • The role of capital that the Technology Impact Fund provides and how the fund thinks about things like concessionary capital, policy, catalytic capital, and additionality
  • The importance of mission alignment with the LP base
  • Where policy fits into the larger conversation and why traditional VCs may initially be wary of investing in climate because of the lack of policy
  • Where fossil fuel companies fit in the clean energy future

Links to topics discussed in this episode: