Agents of Impact | July 29, 2022

Taj Eldridge of Include Ventures: Putting the cool in climate action

Dennis Price
ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

ImpactAlpha, Jul. 29 – Patagonia vests and khakis ain’t gonna cut it, says Taj Eldridge. To spread the word on climate action, the PhD and climate tech investor dons sustainably made crown fedoras (like those his great grandfather wore) and kimonos.

“Everything is purposeful,” Eldridge says of his fashion choices, for which he credits his wife. His calculation: Fear of climate change won’t change behavior. Introducing people to electric pickup trucks, longer-lasting clothing that looks good or athletes and hip-hop artists that invest in climate tech just may.

Connecting climate and culture is personal for Eldridge, who a few years ago was diagnosed with a kidney disease that he attributes to lead in the water in Dallas, where he grew up. “Illness became a catalyst for me to realize that we could do so much more than we’re doing.” 

For Eldridge, doing more has meant investing in diverse and overlooked climate entrepreneurs through L.A. Cleantech Incubator. At Include Ventures, he is backing emerging fund managers that are extending the opportunities and benefits of clean technologies to Black and Brown and Native and rural communities.

Doing more also means networking Black and Brown talent into the green economy through groups like Greentech Noir and VC Familia. “We’ve made climate investing cool,” Eldridge told ImpactAlpha. “We’ve made it to where it is just about as cool as being in web3.”

With climate funding commitments up, climate ventures are scurrying for talent. Jobs for the Future has tapped Eldridge to lead a campaign to train and place tens of thousands of diverse individuals in clean energy jobs.

“Climate change is a public health issue, an economic issue, and a social justice issue,” Eldridge says in his social media profile. “I’m here to impact them all.”