“When you have a new set of technologies come onto the scene, but you still have the old way of financing things, you have to build a new set of bridges to capital,” explains Jim McDermott, the co-founder of Rusheen Capital Management, as he describes the missions of the early stage companies in their portfolio. “Align17 understands what we’re doing, and they have connectivity back to the largest wealth manager on the planet.”

I mentioned Rusheen’s innovative sky-mining when I wrote about investing in the invisible. Like so many of the investment managers we work with, the team at Rusheen sees the potential in approaches that would have been unthinkable and laughably uninvestable even five years ago. But that insight goes beyond just carbon. 

“Investors want to do the right thing but they need the economics to stack up.”

“If you are dealing with energy, water, materials, petrochemicals — these are the most fundamental markets in the world,” says Jim’s co-founder, Jeff Green. “By greening the supply chain for them, you have the ability to change how we emit and how we deal with resource efficiencies.”

Those fundamental markets might sound like a far cry from the apps and platforms that dominate investor interests, especially in the tech-happy world of Silicon Valley. But Rusheen attracted our attention because, even when they were working in software, fund managers like Jim and Jeff were seeing something much bigger. 

“When we did installations of bigger software, I started looking at the amount of energy and had a recurring thought: where are the electrons coming from?” Jim recalls, referring to the huge electricity consumption of the enterprise data centers that power all of that new technology. 

Today, Rusheen’s portfolio includes companies innovating in the fundamental markets that underlie just about everything we use. With resource constraints an increasing reality due to climate change, Rusheen brings Align17 members the opportunity to invest in companies working on not just carbon capture, but on ways to recycle that captured carbon into valuable products. As new industries emerge from ancient materials, we want to connect them to a pipeline of capital.

“Investors want to do the right thing but they need the economics to stack up — you can start to engage with that crowd through Align17,” says Jim. “They can say: ‘Here is a viable way to invest capital,’ with real returns, real companies, and real products, and, with Align17. You know it is going to have a real impact.”

His co-founder adds: “For the first time, it’s possible to align the economics and requirements of capital to receive a return, along with building out a truly positive impact on the environment.” We couldn’t agree more.