As smoke from Canadian wildfires has enveloped large swathes of the East Coast, millions of people have found themselves trapped inside, gazing out on orange skies and hazy cityscapes. The air quality index — which is usually ignored — has suddenly become an object of fascination and source of small talk.
It’s all remarkably similar to what happened on the West Coast three years ago, when skies there turned a sinister hue and people rushed to seal their windows and buy air purifiers. If the past is prologue, then investors should prepare themselves for a tidal wave of climate tech startups next year.
There’s no doubt that the 2020 fire season on the West Coast had a profound impact on a number of founders. Several have told TechCrunch+ that the apocalyptically orange skies of that summer played a large role in their decision to quit their previous jobs and start companies focused on addressing the climate crisis.