Cofounder/Technical Cofounder

  • Carbon13
  • Cambridge, UK
  • Jul 12, 2021
Full time role, Paid fellowship

Job Description

Carbon13 is the venture builder for the climate emergency. Applications are open now to become a cofounder on our programme and found your startup to reduce emissions. Applications to join our September cohort close end of July 2021. Applications for our May 2022 cohort close in March 2022.


The Opportunity 

Become a cofounder of a high growth venture that will also reduce CO2e emissions by millions of tonnes by joining Carbon13's Venture Builder. 

Carbon13 are seeking 50 would-be founders drawn from commercial and technical backgrounds to join our eight-month venture builder. Through this programme you will be supported to create a high-impact high-growth startup with the potential to reduce CO2e emissions by 10 million tonnes. The next cohort will begin 21st September 2021. 

What you'll achieve  

 The venture builder is split into three phases and supports founders to:  

  • Find a cofounder to build a “dream team” with the expertise, credibility, network and commitment needed to develop and execute a high-growth startup 
  • Understand the biggest challenges in Net Zero to find the high-impact high-potential ideas - and avoid the incremental, slow or dead-end ideas in emissions reduction 
  • Develop a value proposition that can scale commercially, while also reducing emissions credibly and significantly 
  • Immerse yourself in the Net Zero and sustainable entrepreneurship world 
  • Start on an intensive journey of learning, around the challenges of Net Zero and sustainability, and the best practices in entrepreneurship 
  • Pitch for investment for the qualifying ventures built on the programme 


During Phase 1 (six weeks) you will receive a stipend of £1000, and during Phase 2 (3 months) we pay a stipend of £3,000 per team member. After this, ventures judged to have high potential will receive a pre-seed investment of a net £75,000. In Phase 3 we will support you to prepare a funding strategy for post-Carbon13 life and help you bring in the next round of finance.  

Who should apply?  

“I’d like to build a business that proves that having sustainable goals at your heart can make you more economically successful.” – Vanessa Macdougall – founder on Carbon13's current cohort.

There is only one requirement for applicants to Carbon13: the absolute commitment to reducing emissions through a scalable venture. 

If you want to play your part in saving the climate and spend your time on making a meaningful impact, then you are qualified to apply to Carbon13. 

When you join Carbon13 you join a cohort of 50 founders who are all as dedicated to reducing emissions as you are. Each person has proven to us that they have the potential to build a high growth startup, and collectively they form a cohort with diversity at its core. This means a cohort which reflects the diversity of our society, and which also draws on every corner of the economy. While the programme is based in Cambridge UK, applications are welcome from every corner of the world and you do not need to base your future startup in the UK.

We are sector agnostic. The challenges of Net Zero are so complex, that people from every industry and sector are needed to come together to find those world-changing ideas. 

While no two founders on the programme are the same, they do fall into three broad “Founder Types”: Technical, Commercial, Venture Catalyst. 

Technical: usually a computer scientist, developer, an engineer, or someone with specialist technical knowledge relating to one of the CO₂e emitting sectors.  You may already have a product you want to commercialise and are looking for a cofounder to achieve this, or you are looking for a high-impact startup idea and wish to partner with a commercial founder who's spotted an opportunity in their industry.

Technical founders are highly motivated to work on the biggest problems of Net Zero, and see entrepreneurship as their chance to build something significant. 

Commercial: will have built a startup (or more than one) previously, OR are new to entrepreneurship but have an impressive track record in one of our CO₂e emitting sectors. You likely have eight or more years post-Bachelors experience.  

You now want to work with cofounders who can match your standards, challenge them, and credibly design, build and deliver on the high-potential big-impact ideas in Net Zero. 

Venture Catalyst: Because there is no such thing as a typical founder, this Founder Type is for those who don’t fit in a neat box but who do have valuable insights and skills, whether earned in the startup world or elsewhere, which would help any startup team. 

The 50 founders on our current cohort are drawn from every corner of the economy, with many different nationalities including from the Americas, Europe and Asia. Half of the teams on our current cohort have female founders. Our cohort is more experienced than the vast majority of accelerator programmes: the age of our founders ranges from late twenties to sixties, with the average years of experience being 14 years.

For more info on our requirements, please visit 

Do you need a startup or startup idea? 

“I wanted to join Carbon13 to create a climate change focused startup, to have an impact on my life and on others and to challenge our generation to be better than our actions and to treasure our finite resources.” – Ahrum Pak – Venture Catalyst Founder, current cohort.

Everyone is welcome to apply to Carbon13 with or without a startup “idea”. We assess your application on your potential as an individual, not on the viability of a startup.  Our support is tailored to whether you have a startup or cofounder, or are new to entrepreneurship or new to emissions reduction.

Startups being built on our current cohort include 

  • Agroforestry 🌳
  • Fintech 🏦
  • Food 🍫
  • Energy ⚡
  • Construction 🏢
  • Transport 🚃
  • Manufacturing ⚙️

"There are lots of different ways of helping people, but making a sustainable future has got to be one of the most important." Amyas Phillips, Technical Founder, current cohort.


The Cambridge Factor  

Carbon13 benefits from strong connections within the deeply creative and radical Cambridge entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem, and benefits from many academic and corporate partnerships. 


Learn More  

We are running a series of webinars available to everyone who would like to learn more about Carbon13 and the Net Zero economy. Our next one can be found here -  

Organization Type

Company, Educational Institute

Organization Size



Atmosphere, Buildings & Cities, Carbon Removal & Utilization Engineering, Climate Risk, Consumer Goods, Ecosystems & Biodiversity, Energy, Food & Agriculture, Funding, Materials & Manufacturing, Media & Journalism, Pollution & Waste Reduction, Research & Education, Supporting Catalysts, Transportation

Drawdown solutions

Abandoned Farmland Restoration, Alternative Cement, Alternative Refrigerants, Bamboo Production, Bicycle Infrastructure, Biochar Production, Biogas for Cooking, Biomass, Bioplastics, Building Automation Systems, Building Retrofitting, Carpooling, Composting, Concentrated Solar Power, Conservation Agriculture, Distributed Energy Storage, Distributed Solar Photovoltaics, District Heating, Dynamic Glass, Efficient Aviation, Efficient Ocean Shipping, Efficient Trucks, Electric Trains, Electric Bikes, Electric Cars, Farm Irrigation Efficiency, Geothermal Power, Green and Cool Roofs, Grid Flexibility, Health and Education, High-Efficiency Heat Pumps, High-Speed Rail, High-Performance Glass, Hybrid Cars, Improved Clean Cookstoves, Improved Rice Production, Insulation, Landfill Methane Capture, LED Lighting, Low-Flow Fixtures, Methane Digesters, Micro Wind Turbines, Microgrids, Multistrata Agroforestry, Net Zero Buildings, Nuclear Power, Nutrient Management, Ocean Power, Offshore Wind Turbines, Onshore Wind Turbines, Perennial Biomass Production, Perennial Staple Crops, Plant-Rich Diets, Public Transit, Recycled Paper, Recycling, Reduced Food Waste, Refrigerant Management, Silvopasture, Small Hydropower, Smart Thermostats, Solar Hot Water, Sustainable Intensification for Smallholders, System of Rice Intensification, Telepresence, Temperate Forest Restoration, Tree Intercropping, Tree Plantations (on Degraded Land), Tropical Forest Restoration, Utility-Scale Energy Storage, Utility-Scale Solar Photovoltaics, Walkable Cities, Waste-to-Energy, Water Distribution Efficiency

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