Head of Science

HEAD OF SCIENCE

For centuries, human beings have been treating Earth like a rental rather than the one and only suitable place for life as we know it. We’ve let pollution rise to dangerous and increasingly deadly levels, and trashed the natural world in countless other ways. The result is a climate emergency that is already killing countless thousands of people, displacing millions more, and sowing the seeds of famine, drought, epidemic disease, and war across the world. Unless you believe that we are on the cusp of historic and global breakthroughs in policy and individual behavior, we have to get much more aggressive about directly pursuing solutions.

To that end, Lowercarbon Capital invests in planet-healing technologies to (1) reduce COemissions, (2) remove carbon from the atmosphere, and (3) buy more time in case (1) and (2) take longer than we hope. Most of our investments are in early-stage companies, but we also work with nonprofits, activists, and academic researchers when they’re best positioned to move things forward. 

The Head of Science role is ideal for someone with a science and engineering background who is excited to apply that training and expertise to evaluating startups and supporting Lowercarbon’s growing portfolio.

RESPONSIBILITIES

The Head of Science will take the lead in technical diligence, sourcing investment targets, and identifying new or unexplored areas for research and investment. The specific responsibilities of this position will fall into five buckets:

  • Diligence: You’ll lead scientific and technical diligence of companies and initiatives being considered for investment. Additionally, you will help define priority areas for investment in service of the mission to lower carbon by reducing emissions and removing atmospheric CO2.
  • Research: Keeping a close eye on academic, startup, and non-profit circles, you will survey new research, emerging technologies, and other developments in climate change mitigation and carbon removal. 
  • Convening: To help accelerate our efforts and strengthen relationships among founders, investors, researchers, activists, and other practitioners, you will also attend conferences and participate in other community-building activities.  
  • Content: Among our unique advantages is to communicate information on behalf of narrow communities of practice to broader audiences such as media, investors, and technologists through writing and press. Expect to play a role in that.

Progress in each of these areas will be summarized in regular reports to partners detailing new developments, tracking goals, and outlining future work.

SKILLS & BACKGROUND

This list of qualifications is intended to highlight characteristics we believe most essential to have immediate success in this role, but there is a wide range of potentially relevant professional and academic experiences. Beyond this, we feel it is important to note that while a background in investing or start-ups could be valuable in this role, we do not consider these prerequisites and look forward to meeting with a diverse group of candidates.

  • You possess an advanced degree or equivalent experience that provides you with a deep understanding of a climate-relevant field, such as but definitely not limited to: thermodynamics, mechanical engineering, physical chemistry, carbon capture processes, and/or energy systems
  • You hold an open-mind toward emerging (and sometimes outlandish) technologies, and your first instinct is to ask how they scale
  • You are an excellent written and verbal communicator capable of formulating persuasive investment recommendations, as well as presenting in public
  • You are self-motivated and capable of defining goals for yourself and helping to shape them for the team
  • You enjoy working on multiple projects simultaneously

HOW TO APPLY

If you’re interested in applying for this position, please send the following materials to team@lowercarboncapital.com with the subject line, “[YOUR LAST NAME] Head of Science Application”:

  1. One-page resume, attached or linked
  2. Names and email for three references
  3. Cover letter in the body of the email
  4. Lastly, please include a short description of a novel or overlooked climate solution that we may not have heard of yet

We believe diversity is a source of strength. Lowercarbon Capital is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by law.

A LITTLE MORE ABOUT US

Lowercarbon Capital is led by Chris and Crystal Sacca, together with their partner Clay Dumas. All three are also partners at Lowercase Capital, a venture capital firm founded with the intent to challenge the conventional wisdom of its industry. In its work with startups and founders, Lowercase brings an obsessive focus on mission, storytelling, and product. Primarily known for its investments in early stage technology companies such as Twitter, Uber, Instagram, Twilio, Stripe, and Kickstarter, Lowercase Capital is one of the most successful funds ever on a return multiple basis. 

We launched Lowercarbon Capital in response to the stunning lack of urgency or political will to meaningfully confront the rapidly worsening climate. Treaties like Paris mean well but vastly underestimate the scale of the crisis confronting us all today. Global emissions actually rose last year. It is encouraging to see renewable energy falling below price parity with fossil fuels, and developments in agriculture, housing, and transportation offer glimmers of hope that a much smaller carbon footprint is possible. Yet much more must be done starting right now. For us, it begins with cleaning up hard-to-decarbonize sectors of the economy to reduce emissions from ~43Gt in 2019 to as close to zero as fast as possible. We must also figure out how to suck more than one trillion tons of CO₂ out of the sky between now and the end of the century, because the reality is that zeroing new emissions is insufficient. This will require a portfolio of technologies to remove carbon from the atmosphere at a scale far beyond what we can do today. In the meantime we must look for ways to buy time and actively cool the planet to save human, animal, and plant life as we know it.