July 19, 2024
Walmart heir Lukas Walton’s Builders Vision puts S2G on a path to independence

S2G Ventures is graduating today, so to speak.

The climate tech investment firm has been living under Builders Vision, an umbrella organization for Walmart heir Lukas Walton’s philanthropic and investment activities, for the past three years. Walton was S2G’s sole limited partner. Now the organization is bringing others on board.

Walton started S2G in 2014 to invest in startups focused on energy, agriculture, and the oceans, with the goal of creating a new crop of companies that would benefit the climate and the environment.

Walton will continue to invest in and support S2G, according to sources close to the firm, so while he’s giving the firm a bit more room to run, he’s not stepping away entirely.

S2G has over 100 portfolio companies, and according to PitchBook data, has $2 billion in assets under management. S2G has also made more than 180 investments in the last decade. The firm’s strategy spans seed stage to growth and infrastructure investments, making it one of the few to not just invest in early-stage companies, but also guide them across the “valley of death” that has made scaling so challenging for climate tech startups.

Though Walton himself is worth a hefty sum — $28.3 billion according to Bloomberg — the amount of investment required for the world to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 makes his fortune look paltry. For the next 25 years, $9.2 trillion needs to be spent on physical assets every year, some $3.5 trillion more than the world spends today, according to McKinsey.

By setting S2G loose from Builders Vision, Walton is following a well-worn path used by many philanthropists, who often provide initial and some ongoing funding to get an endeavor off the ground. But once the project gets its legs underneath it, philanthropists tend to let others step in to foster continued expansion so they can tackle other problems.

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