Forecast: The next 1,000 unicorns will be clean energy startups

Unicorn in elegant suit. © Sergey Ton Getty Images
Unicorn in elegant suit. © Sergey Ton Getty Images

Since 2012, investors have been eagerly awaiting the annual letter from Larry Fink, head of the world’s largest asset manager Blackrock. Because of Blackrock’s sheer size and influence, the letter is seen by many as an indicator of future investment trends.

This year, Larry Fink calls on CEOs to take a longer-term view and stop neglecting society’s concerns. “In today’s globally interconnected world, a company must create value for and be valued by its full range of stakeholders in order to deliver long-term value for its shareholders,” Fink said in his letter and continued: “Putting your company’s purpose at the foundation of your relationships with your stakeholders is critical to long-term success.

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New unicorns will come from renewable energies

That’s why he sees the next wave of successful startups primarily in sustainable business ideas. “The next 1,000 unicorns won’t be search engines or social media companies, they’ll be sustainable, scalable innovators – startups that help the world decarbonize and make the energy transition affordable for all consumers,” wrote Fink. As a reminder: “Unicorns” are startups that are worth at least one billion US dollars. Fink sees decarbonization in particular as the “biggest investment opportunity of our lives”.

According to the last quarterly report, the company currently manages $10 trillion. According to its own statements, it has already invested more than $4 trillion in sustainable technologies. “We focus on sustainability not because we’re environmentalists, but because we are capitalists and fiduciaries to our clients,” says Fink. According to him, proof of the success of sustainable innovations is found in founders such as Elon Musk, who, according to Forbes, is currently the richest person in the world with a net worth of $266.5 billion.

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“It won’t happen overnight”

Although Flink himself says that the decarbonization of the global economy is imperative for a sustainable future, he does not believe that this change will happen quickly. “It won’t happen overnight. We need to pass through shades of brown to shades of green,” writes Fink. Nevertheless, his letter may help that this change could happen a little faster. In investor circles, his assessment carries a lot of weight and could therefore motivate them to promote sustainable start-ups internationally. This could perhaps bring the necessary cash injection for many good ideas, which are often so urgently needed.


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