LA Venture: Dangerous Ventures’ Gaby Darbyshire On ‘Shining a Bright Light’ on Difficult Problems
On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, Dangerous Ventures founder and General Partner Gaby Darbyshire explains how her background as the co-founder of a pioneering digital publisher set the stage for her interest in climate technology.
Dangerous Ventures is a seed and pre-seed stage climate firm that invests in founders who are trying to build a more resilient and healthy planet. Since its launch in 2020, the firm has supported companies that focus on solving issues surrounding climate change and human resilience.
“We fundamentally believe that the billion- or trillion-dollar businesses will be in this space,” Darbyshire said. “There are unbelievably pressing and important problems that need to be solved in the climate, environmental space, and that is no longer nice-to-have; it's imperative.”
As Gawker’s co-founder and chief operating officer, Darbyshire was in charge of general day-to-day operations for the massive online media business that included Jezebel, Gizmodo, Valleywag, Deadspin, and Life Hacker among other pioneering digital news outlets. Darbyshire deeply understands the power of content and attributes some of Gawker’s success to the fact that editorial always prevailed over advertising when there was a tradeoff to be made.
“Gawker’s mentality was shining a bright light in dark corners,” she said. “We didn't necessarily feel the need to capitulate to advertiser’s demands, which is one of the reasons that we did the kind of coverage that some people didn't like.”
That focus on the big picture has influenced how Darbyshire prioritizes what she undertakes.
“I feel like it would be delightful if all the brightest brains in the world focused their energies on solving climate problems rather than building another widget or another adtech business or another thing we don't need,” she said.
One of Dangerous’ most recent investments include a company still in stealth called Space Solar and another focused on developing and improving battery technology.
“The great thing about being in the space that we are in is that everyone we work with is incredibly collaborative because we're all seeking the same goal,” she said.
Darbyshire is also a board member of Global Witness, a London-based organization that is “shining a bright light in dark corners” by focusing on corruption in the environmental space and holding companies and governments accountable for their actions towards the climate crisis.
“They expose corruption in the environmental space,” she said, “and sort of essentially do big studies around land defenders, people who are murdered in the Amazon for protecting their land, they do a lot of investigation into oil and gas lobbying.”
Taking on the climate crisis can be intimidating, Darbyshire acknowledged. But she’s convinced that founders who are truly passionate about solving the world’s biggest problems can succeed.
“It's quite hard launching a VC fund and it's quite hard doing anything that's new and different,” she said. “You have to maintain that sense of belief and grit, otherwise you wouldn't do anything. So I say to them, go work in climate!”
dot.LA Reporter Decerry Donato contributed to this post.
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This podcast is produced by L.A. Venture. The views and opinions expressed in the show are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of dot.LA or its newsroom.
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