There's only one requirement to apply to the Carbon13 Venture Builder

At Carbon13, we believe that diversity is the driver of world-saving innovation. We’ve now worked with over 300 amazing founders over cohorts 1-4 in Cambridge and our only requirement is this: are you looking to dedicate your career to solving climate change?

three venture builder founders stand discussing their climate tech ideas in st Catharine's college, Cambridge

Cohort 4 founders, Tom, Francesca, and David stand in St Catharine’s college (Cambridge) discussing their ideas for the venture builder

What does a typical founder look like?

There is no such thing as a typical founder with Carbon13.  We are searching for 60+ founders from a variety of technical and commercial backgrounds to join the next cohort of our Venture Builder programme. 

But there is no list of requirements or job spec. We recognise that fighting climate change is a complex mission, one which requires a multitude of talented people to come together to create ambitious and proactive founding teams.   

That’s why we are looking for a range of individuals with a variety of talents in different areas.   

There are four broad categories of people who apply to Carbon13. We call them Founder Types.  Whichever type fits you, you’ll be highly motivated by reducing emissions, and to dedicating your career to addressing the climate crisis. 

To see where you fit, read our Founder Types below.  

Technical founders (Science/Engineering)

You are likely a scientist, an engineer, or someone with specialist technical knowledge relating to one of the CO₂e emitting sectors. 

You’ll be highly motivated to work on the biggest problems of Net Zero, and see entrepreneurship as your chance to build something significant.

You may already be working on a prototype or IP, or wish to apply your skillset to the biggest challenges in decarbonisation. In a venture, you will likely be the CTO, responsible for leading the development of the technology to at least proof of concept stage.

Technical founders (Software, Data & ML)

This founder type is for software developers, data scientists, and/or AI/ML specialists.
You may be relatively new to the Net Zero space but now relish the challenge of using your skills to reduce emissions and save the climate. You are not expected to have an idea and may be more interested in teaming up with a commercial or hard tech founder who’s bringing their own idea or expertise in a particular sector.
Your age and experience are less important than your ability. In a founding team, you may take a CTO role, or a role similar to a Chief Data Officer or Chief Information Officer – leveraging the potential for data analysis, software, intelligent automation, and machine learning.

Commercial founders

You have eight or more years post-Bachelors experience, either as a serial entrepreneur/in startups, or if you’ve gained your experience in industry, it will likely be in one of our “carbon emitting sectors”. You will be responsible for building the critical relationships the venture needs, and for leading the building of the execution team.

Venture catalyst founders

You have strong expertise and/or social capital in one of our target industries (energy, transport, buildings, agri/food, manufacturing) or a strong skillset in startups (sales, product management, design). We sometimes call these our “wild card founders”- if you are an extraordinary talent that doesn’t fit one of the other categories, this is where you fit.

Can you apply if you have a startup already?

You do not need a startup or even an idea to apply to Carbon13, but if you already have an idea or are working on an early-stage startup, you should absolutely apply. The programme is designed to support founders who come to us with or without an idea.

For those of you who do not have an idea, you are still expected to bring insights into an emitting industry, specifically the potential problem areas which could be solved by a decarbonisation startup.

Technical founders:

  • If you are a data scientist, a software developer, an AI/ML specialist: you may join with or without an idea for a startup.
  • If your work as a scientist or engineer is rooted in the physical or natural sciences: typically we would expect you to come with the beginnings of an idea, or at least a domain space that you intend to explore for startup opportunities.
Commercial or Venture Catalyst founders: Most Commercial or Venture Catalyst founders join in the expectation of working up an idea in collaboration with a Technical founder. Of course, your cofounder will welcome you having your own ideas, especially if you:
  • have validated your ideas with customers.
  • have domain spaces in which you feel particularly passionate about making an impact.

Therefore normally, if you have a specific idea that you want to pursue, as a commercial or venture catalyst founder you should be bringing the first customers for that idea to the table with you.

But remember, if you have an idea and you apply to the Venture Builder, we assess you on your potential as an individual, not on the strength of your idea.

Our target industries

We need entrepreneurs to pave the way to develop and deliver innovation that will make a significant difference to carbon emissions.  

We are looking for entrepreneurs who have experience in or are excited about creating innovation in the key industries listed below: 


Decarbonising energy is well under way, but we need to accelerate the trajectory.  How can we power the world? 

Agriculture and Food

How can we reduce emissions while meeting the growing demand for food? 

Buildings and construction

How can the construction industry ensure minimization of energy use when developing and retrofitting buildings and infrastructure?


How can industry streamline to decarbonise processes and ensure they are efficient and circular?

Transport, mobility and logistics

How can we continue our mobility, whilst eliminating the current transportation emissions?


How can consumer-facing businesses meet the growing demand for zero carbon products? 


How can financial institutions leverage the opportunities opened up by the green industrial revolution?

Our target industries are not exhaustive, if you believe you can create a venture with the potential to reduce CO2e emissions, we would love to hear from you. 

Diversity and inclusion policy

Diversity and Inclusion

At Carbon13 we want to bring potential co-founders together, because we recognise the founding teams most likely to achieve breakthroughs are those which are diverse in thought and background, so we actively welcome applicants who can build these teams and achieve our mission.    


Through our Venture Builder, we want to play our part in changing the landscape for diverse founders. For more information, please check out our Diversity and Inclusion policy. 

Tauseef Ali

I am passionate about bridging the latest research in AI and Machine Learning with commercially viable products and business opportunities.
After completing my PhD in 2014, I wanted to start my entrepreneurial journey. So I worked in early stage start-ups for a couple of years and in 2017 started my own company. In my role as a CTO, I built a technology and product that is now used by many customers.
I have always been fascinated by how technology can be used to improve lives and create positive impact. This led me to pursue my next venture with Carbon13.
As the world’s population is continuously increasing, we need to reduce the food waste and increase yield from the same size of land.
I want to help tackle this challenge by optimising crop yields through AI and machine learning.