Welcoming Climate Investors Matt Trevithick and Rachel Slaybaugh to DCVC
By Matt Ocko and Zachary Bogue 04.13.22
We’re delighted to announce two strategic additions to the DCVC team, reflecting the growing importance of climate tech to DCVC. Matt Trevithick, who most recently was COO of Google Quantum AI joins us as Partner, and Rachel Slaybaugh, who was a tenured Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, joins as a Principal.
Matt and Rachel will find, fund, and grow breakthrough Deep Tech solutions to pernicious problems in climate, working with exceptional founders and teams to build enormous businesses that create sustainable prosperity in a world adapting to climate change.
For over a dozen years, DCVC has backed entrepreneurs applying Deep Tech to solve trillion-dollar challenges. Our goal is to tackle previously unsolvable problems in global industries where technological progress has often been slow or frustrating. With Deep Tech, we believe we can bring capitalism’s benefits to billions, while reducing its cost to society.
From transforming polluting manufacturing, to growing crops without poisoning our air and water, to creating cures for intractable diseases, society’s biggest challenges are also some of the world’s greatest opportunities. Climate change is the biggest challenge and opportunity of all.
Matt and Rachel are rockstars in their respective fields: each has helped commercialize emerging technologies in energy for many years.
At Google Research, Matt worked on nuclear fusion and quantum computing. His team was the first to achieve a beyond-classical result by demonstrating that Google’s programmable superconducting quantum processor could outperform the world’s most powerful classical supercomputer on a highly specialized task (Nature, October 2019). Matt also directed a reevaluation of cold fusion that included sponsored research at University of British Columbia, MIT, University of Maryland and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) (Nature, May 2019), and facilitated Alphabet’s 2021 investment in Commonwealth Fusion Systems. Prior to Google, Matt was a Partner at Venrock where he focused on clean energy technologies; his notable investments include Lucid Motors, Phononic, Nest, and TAE Technologies. Matt also consulted for Planet, a DCVC portfolio company.
Rachel Slaybaugh works at the intersection of Deep Tech and commercialization. As a tenured professor at UC Berkeley, she held leadership roles in several data science and entrepreneurship organizations and founded the Nuclear Innovation Bootcamp. Her research focused on developing new neutron transport solvers (e.g. Journal of Computational Physics, June 2013 and Nuclear Science and Engineering, Feb 2019). Rachel was also a Division Director at LBNL, where she ran the Cyclotron Road Division. In parallel with her academic responsibilities, she served as a Program Director for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). At ARPA-E, Rachel created several nuclear fission programs (MEITNER, 2018 OPEN+ cohort, LISA, GEMINA) and managed the agriculture portfolio (TERRA, ROOTS, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center team), as well as some solar and virtual reality teams (FOCUS, UTRC team). In 2020, Rachel co-founded the Good Energy Collective (GEC) and currently serves as Chair of their Board. GEC’s mission is to develop smart policies at every scale to accelerate the equitable deployment of advanced nuclear technologies.
DCVC has backed leading climate tech companies for over a decade—first-in-category innovators like Pivot Bio, Oklo, Twelve, and more. DCVC is very much a for-profit venture capital firm, earning unreasonable returns for our LPs but we’re also focused on investments that benefit humanity: we believe that delivering economic abundance and environmental resilience are the moral imperatives of our age.
Solving pernicious climate challenges today will spawn the iconic mega-scale businesses of the next 100 years. With Matt and Rachel on the team, we are doubling down on our Deep Tech climate investment and supporting our founders more broadly—stay tuned for more announcements. We’re thrilled to welcome them both!