Build your venture

The Venture Builder is designed for determined individuals who are deeply committed to helping humanity reach Net Zero. You’ll join a cohort of 70+ founders, form a cofounding team, and launch a climatetech venture with the potential to reduce CO2e emissions by 10 million tonnes per year. This is doing, not talking.
The River Cam flows past the colleges of the University of Cambridge. Carbon13 grew out of this world class hotspot of innovation.

Next cohort start date: 14th March for Cambridge Cohort 5

We are selecting and supporting 1000 entrepreneurs over 5 years who will build scalable ventures with the potential to collectively reduce CO2e emissions by over 400 million tonnes.

The Venture Builder grew out of the Cambridge ecosystem of innovation, academia and entrepreneurship and our origin has taught us the importance of world class commercial, scientific and carbon understanding.

Join our programme. Become a founder and reduce carbon emissions.

You have the potential. Now make the progress.

Carbon13’s Venture Builder is for founders who are pre-investment or pre-team or even pre-idea.

You bring your talent and commitment to reducing CO2e emissions. We bring everything else you need to make progress on a venture. 

You do not need to be based in Cambridge or the UK.

Applications are open now for our Cohort 5 in Cambridge which starts 14th March 2023.

With our Venture Builder, you will:

  • Find a complementary cofounder and build a “dream team with the expertise, credibility, network and commitment to take an idea to market.
  • Actually make an impact on carbon emissions. This is Doing not Talking. 
  • Get past the prototype and transition technical ideas into a commercial success.
  • De-risk the startup building process. The planet doesn’t have time for false starts.

We run webinars almost every week, tailored to aspiring founders with different skillsets, such as science/engineering, software, or commercial skillsets. The majority of successful applicants watch one of our webinars.

Structure of the Venture Builder

Our Venture Builder programme is delivered in three Phases over eight months.   

It’s an intense programme, dedicated to one purposehelping you take your potential and talent and turn it into a scalable venture that can significantly reduce CO2e emissions by delivering solutions to customers—whether consumers or enterprises. 

Below is a brief overview of the purpose of each Phase. To explore the programme structure in full, click below.

Phase 1: Teaming/Ideation (six weeks)

Phase 1 focuses on Teaming. You match with cofounders to form a team capable of building a game-changing venture which can reduce carbon emissions by millions of tonnes.

Although much of the venture builder will be delivered virtually, some of Phase 1 will be delivered face to face without streaming, and attendance in Cambridge UK for this part of the programme is mandatory. Other than that, it is for you and your team to decide how and where you will work.

The mandatory in-person component of Phase 1 for Cambridge Cohort 5 is planned to be on the following dates in Cambridge in 2023: 14 – 16 March, 28 – 30 March, and 17 – 19 April.

Only founders on the programme who successfully complete Phase 1 by forming a team will continue to Phase 2: Validation.  

Phase 2: Validation (nine weeks)

Phase 2 focuses on building proof points around the venture—especially its customers, the problem you are solving, and your value proposition.  

At the end of Phase 2, teams who have met our criteria for progress become eligible to present to the Investment Committee, who will decide which ventures receive £120,000 and continue to Phase 3. You can read more about how our investment works in our FAQs

Phase 3: Acceleration (four months)

Once you are in Phase 3, Carbon13 has invested in you and is your business partner.  We work with an incredible network of enablers in Cambridge and Berlin, and with our corporate and financial partners, to help you build customer traction and momentum for your venture, including preparing a funding strategy for post-Carbon13 life and helping you bring in the next round of finance.    

Your Founder Type

Each cohort on the Venture Builder is formed of four founder types to give the complementarities and depth that our ventures needAs part of the application process, we’ll ask you to help us understand which founder type best matches your profile, but of course, there is no such thing as a typical entrepreneur or team. If you want to build a venture that reduces carbon emissions, then to us, you’re a founder. 

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.

Find your cofounder

The first 6 weeks (Phase 1) of our programme is dedicated to you finding a cofounder who is both impact-driven and ready to start now.

You’ll join a diverse cohort of 70+ talented, purpose-driven individuals, all looking for a cofounder, all prioritising launching a venture.

During the 6 weeks you’ll be supported to build the right cofounding team for you, one which is complementary, has healthy teaming habits, and has the potential to execute a breakthrough venture for the climate. Click below to learn more about Carbon13’s approach to teaming.

Across our first two cohorts, over 90% of Carbon13 founders successfully joined a team in Phase 1.

Carbon13 is the only venture builder for the climate where you can do this.