As rumors rumbled that the U.S. Federal Reserve would hike rates once more — and when it followed through earlier this week — another round of layoffs hit the tech sector. Stripe, Opendoor, Chime, Zillow, Cerebral, Brex, and of course Twitter, among others, have already cut or are about to eliminate thousands of jobs.
That’s bad news for employees today, but it might be good news for the climate in the near future.
Before we get too far, let me say up front that getting laid off is terrible and not something I wish to happen to anyone. Not knowing where your paychecks will come from or what benefits you’ll receive is difficult in the best of times, and it’s far worse when economic signs are mixed or major life changes are looming. I am not at all trying to minimize what people go through when they’ve been laid off. It’s happened to me, and it sucks.
But layoffs also offer a chance at a new beginning. Even before the recent waves of layoffs started washing over the tech industry, people were leaving their old jobs for new opportunities in climate tech.
While this is a TechCrunch+ story, we made sure the paywall is below the key links in case you are job-hunting. Hugs — The TC+ team
“One thing we’re seeing is really, really strong talent leaving larger companies,” Erin Price-Wright, a partner at Index Ventures, said at TechCrunch Disrupt, “because some of the financial upside for public tech companies or maybe even late-stage tech companies has sort of vaporized in the last few months. And people are like, ‘Well, I had these golden handcuffs, and that was preventing me from working on what I really care about. And I don’t have that anymore. So I’m going to take a risk and I’m going to do something.’”
Climate tech has been booming relative to the rest of the market, with startups in the sector raising $5.6 billion in the first half of this year, short of 2021’s crazy hauls but still well ahead of 2020, the next previous record, according to PitchBook. Five years from now, PitchBook expects the climate tech market to be worth $1.4 trillion, a compound annual growth rate of 8.8%.
All those companies are in desperate need of talent. Nearly every early-stage founder in the climate tech space I’ve spoken with in recent months went out of their way to mention that they’re hiring. Climatebase has thousands of jobs listed right now, and that’s just a portion of the climate tech companies with active listings.
Shaun Abrahamson, co-founder of climate-focused Third Sphere, pointed out that his firm’s portfolio companies are currently hiring for over 400 positions. Breakthrough Energy Ventures’ portfolio companies are hiring for nearly 1,200 positions.
Elsewhere, around 100 companies are using the climate career platform Terra.do to directly connect with applicants, chief business officer Nishant Mani told TechCrunch. The startup frequently runs virtual job fairs to match employees with employers, and business is booming. The platform’s user base is growing 50% month on month, and Mani is aiming to get 1,000 companies actively using the platform in the next six months.