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- Irena Spazzapan is a co-founder of Systemiq Capital, a climate tech venture capital firm based in London that has backed over 20 companies across Europe and North America. She helped build the firm after spinning it out from the world's largest pure play climate advisory firm Systemiq.
- Systemiq Capital takes a "systems thinking" approach to climate tech investing, working across sectors like energy, materials, food, and transportation to find transformational companies instead of just incremental solutions. Their strategy is to focus on areas where they can add value through the climate expertise and networks of the advisory side.
- The firm has shifted to focus more on Europe recently rather than the US due to inflated valuations in the US market following policy support like the Inflation Reduction Act. They believe the valuations make US deals prohibitively expensive now.
- Systemiq Capital will not take money from oil and gas companies but may take capital from sovereign wealth funds if they believe those funds genuinely want to learn and invest in climate solutions. This is because they see educating major pools of capital as important.
- The lack of exits and DPI (Distributed to Paid-In Capital) in climate tech is a major concern, but Systemiq Capital aims to return capital within the lifecycle of their funds by carefully constructing diversified portfolios and continuing to support companies post-investment.
- Progress needs a balance of bold innovation and incremental solutions - the firm tries to play a role across the system both through climate policy engagement and backing transformative startups.