By Zach Church | MIT Sloan Ideas Made to Matter | June 8, 2021
It won’t be easy. Despite good feelings and good press about clean energy projects, there is still a substantial gap, the “valley of death,” between idea and commercialization. At Generate Capital, Yancan “Lydia” Li is working to close that gap by using low cost-of-capital funding to grow clean energy and sustainable infrastructure projects.
Li, MBA ’19, also lobbied for and received the resources to develop an internship program at her company, creating pathways for people from underrepresented groups to build careers in sustainable investing.
It’s this persistence that landed Li on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for energy earlier this year. Forbes cited Li’s more than $200 million in investments in the power, transport, and waste sectors.
“Her technical research and financial analyses allowed Generate to underwrite first-of-its-kind hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell projects that could not raise capital from traditional investors,” according to Forbes.
We spoke with Li about how idea generation works at Generate Capital, what it took to launch the internship program, and the podcasts and newsletters she uses to stay on the leading edge of energy investing.