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Human Effort

204: “Iron Man’s” Footprint Coalition

Problem:

For several years, Robert Downey Jr. made a great deal of money portraying billionaire industrialist Tony Stark “Iron Man” in the box office success Marvel Cinematic Universe films; Stark is a chief weapons manufacturer for the U.S. military, until he has a change of heart and redirects his technical knowledge into the creation of mechanized suits of armour which he uses to defend against those that would threaten peace around the world.

Off-set Downey pondered on how focused on how he might save the Earth in real-life rather than just on-screen?

Solution:

In 2019, when Downey Jr. unveiled his new, sustainability focused initiative called the FootPrint Coalition at Amazon’s re:MARS conference it was little more than a static website and a subscription prompt.

The millionaire actor said that the goal of his initiative was to use robotics and artificial intelligence to clean up Earth and reverse its carbon footprint

By 2021 the FootPrint Coalition, with five portfolio companies working on solutions rather than “a smattering of elite mega-corporations, launched a rolling venture fund, Footprint Coalition Ventures at the World Economic Forum’s Digital Davos event.

With the new rolling fund, managed through AngelList, Downey Jr.’s initiative sits at the intersection of two of the biggest ideas reshaping the world economy — the democratization of access to capital and investment vehicles and the $10 trillion opportunity to decarbonize global industry. The firm has identified six investment areas: sustainability-focused consumer products and services; food and agriculture technology; materials and industrial tech; energy and transportation; education and media; and advanced environmental solutions.

Up to 2,000 investors are eligible to participate in each of the two funds (a limit set by SEC rules). Each backer must invest a minimum of $5,000 per quarter, meaning the first FootPrint Coalition Ventures funds could raise more than $80 million per year.

To promote its endeavours, the CV firm will tap into Downey Jr.’s creative team — and his huge social-media footprint, which comprises more than 100 million followers. The goal is to use storytelling to translate scientific concepts into accessible information to promote awareness and attract talent to the cause, according to Downey Jr.: “We want to turn complex subjects into culture-defining content, and offer our audience an opportunity to invest with us.”

Discover Solution 205: Stinkfruit supercapacitors

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