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TDK Ventures

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TDK Ventures for Impact-Scaling Entrepreneurs

Build a better tomorrow for all of humanity. A simple call to action, but one with implications of global importance and monumental complexity. Since July 2019, that is exactly the mission TDK Ventures has relentlessly pursued. A corporate VC firm based in San Jose, CA, TDK Ventures specializes in impact scaling early-stage hard-tech technologies that represent the greatest benefit to the world – ‘King of the Hill’ innovators with megatrend-setting potential for financial return, strategic return, and contributing to society, the “triple bottom line”. 

Contribution is evaluated based on how a technology sustainably supports energy, environmental or digital transformation. Identifying the right solution is a balance of both patience and impatience. Patience in finding the right entrepreneurial pursuit to back with an unwavering sense of purpose, but impatience in the sense of urgency to solve some of the planet’s biggest problems. 

As company President Nicolas Sauvage explains, “It’s a really simple, yet critical, mission of exploration. Exploring new markets, new technologies, and the challenges facing humanity. Through exploration, we can be ready to help accelerate the right solution, when we find it.”

More than innovative technology, a primary ethos of TDK Ventures is that the right solutions are really about the entrepreneurs behind them. This is company culture, embedded in its C.O.D.E. philosophy: C – Contributing to Society, O – One Team Reaching for the Sky, D – Delivering Deep Insights, and E – Entrepreneurs First. 

“Entrepreneurs First is ingrained in our DNA,” Sauvage stated. “It’s why we wake up in the morning; it guides everything from our hiring practices to our actual functions as a company. For example, distinct from other VCs and CVCs, we have created novel functions dedicated to supporting our portfolio companies, such as marketing, legal, financial and recruitment principals.”

Together with financial backing, platform team and scaling team support, and the vast network of expertise and connections that corporate can provide, TDK Ventures works to offer as much ‘TDK Goodness’ as possible to scale the impact and minimize risk for each portfolio company.

The process is thesis driven, starting with a Deep Exploration in a given topic, then seeking and building contrarian views from first principles, a contrarian view of how the world can or should be based on what the investment team knows and what they believe to be true. The goal is to find the ‘King of the Hill’ company that could deliver a solution that meets our desired triple bottom line. 

For example, in energy transition, Ascend Elements saw not just an energy problem, but a resource problem for lithium-ion batteries. We are constrained by both the availability of rare metals and the inefficiency of material extraction. So, TDK Ventures backed startups such as Ascend Elements and Novalith, which are tackling these issues head on and are accelerating lithium-ion battery material recycling and material extraction respectively. 

Another highlighted startup was AM Batteries, working on removing toxic solvent from battery production, eliminating carbon footprint by 50% or more at cheaper infrastructure cost. Additionally, Verdagy is a firm innovating the production of hydrogen, and providing a pathway for green-hydrogen fuel to decarbonize the chemical-production industry.

“A novel approach to evaluating startups is around TDK Ventures stress testing the projects we review.” said Sauvage. New cleantech solutions initially require little of our planet’s available resources. Yet, when growing exponentially, their solution can exceed the “system limits” within, say, just four generations. Even though the third generation seemed fine, they would miss the chance to bring the expected value. Stress test means assuming these solutions will and can be massively successful at scale.

While the work to build a better tomorrow is never over, innovations growing within the TDK Ventures portfolio paint an optimistic future. Concluding, Sauvage agreed, “It is really quite a humbling honor to be able to help accelerate some amazing technologies and support the entrepreneurs behind them. It shows how truly profound an impact we can all have when we work together.” 

Build a better tomorrow for all of humanity. A simple call to action, but one with implications of global importance and monumental complexity. Since July 2019, that is exactly the mission TDK Ventures has relentlessly pursued. A corporate VC firm based in San Jose, CA, TDK Ventures specializes in impact scaling early-stage hard-tech technologies that represent the greatest benefit to the world – ‘King of the Hill’ innovators with megatrend-setting potential for financial return, strategic return, and contributing to society, the “triple bottom line”. 

Contribution is evaluated based on how a technology sustainably supports energy, environmental or digital transformation. Identifying the right solution is a balance of both patience and impatience. Patience in finding the right entrepreneurial pursuit to back with an unwavering sense of purpose, but impatience in the sense of urgency to solve some of the planet’s biggest problems. 

As company President Nicolas Sauvage explains, “It’s a really simple, yet critical, mission of exploration. Exploring new markets, new technologies, and the challenges facing humanity. Through exploration, we can be ready to help accelerate the right solution, when we find it.”

More than innovative technology, a primary ethos of TDK Ventures is that the right solutions are really about the entrepreneurs behind them. This is company culture, embedded in its C.O.D.E. philosophy: C – Contributing to Society, O – One Team Reaching for the Sky, D – Delivering Deep Insights, and E – Entrepreneurs First. 

“Entrepreneurs First is ingrained in our DNA,” Sauvage stated. “It’s why we wake up in the morning; it guides everything from our hiring practices to our actual functions as a company. For example, distinct from other VCs and CVCs, we have created novel functions dedicated to supporting our portfolio companies, such as marketing, legal, financial and recruitment principals.”

Together with financial backing, platform team and scaling team support, and the vast network of expertise and connections that corporate can provide, TDK Ventures works to offer as much ‘TDK Goodness’ as possible to scale the impact and minimize risk for each portfolio company.

The process is thesis driven, starting with a Deep Exploration in a given topic, then seeking and building contrarian views from first principles, a contrarian view of how the world can or should be based on what the investment team knows and what they believe to be true. The goal is to find the ‘King of the Hill’ company that could deliver a solution that meets our desired triple bottom line. 

For example, in energy transition, Ascend Elements saw not just an energy problem, but a resource problem for lithium-ion batteries. We are constrained by both the availability of rare metals and the inefficiency of material extraction. So, TDK Ventures backed startups such as Ascend Elements and Novalith, which are tackling these issues head on and are accelerating lithium-ion battery material recycling and material extraction respectively. 

Another highlighted startup was AM Batteries, working on removing toxic solvent from battery production, eliminating carbon footprint by 50% or more at cheaper infrastructure cost. Additionally, Verdagy is a firm innovating the production of hydrogen, and providing a pathway for green-hydrogen fuel to decarbonize the chemical-production industry.

“A novel approach to evaluating startups is around TDK Ventures stress testing the projects we review.” said Sauvage. New cleantech solutions initially require little of our planet’s available resources. Yet, when growing exponentially, their solution can exceed the “system limits” within, say, just four generations. Even though the third generation seemed fine, they would miss the chance to bring the expected value. Stress test means assuming these solutions will and can be massively successful at scale.

While the work to build a better tomorrow is never over, innovations growing within the TDK Ventures portfolio paint an optimistic future. Concluding, Sauvage agreed, “It is really quite a humbling honor to be able to help accelerate some amazing technologies and support the entrepreneurs behind them. It shows how truly profound an impact we can all have when we work together.” 

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TDK Ventures for Impact-Scaling Entrepreneurs

Build a better tomorrow for all of humanity. A simple call to action, but one with implications of global importance and monumental complexity. Since July 2019, that is exactly the mission TDK Ventures has relentlessly pursued. A corporate VC firm based in San Jose, CA, TDK Ventures specializes in impact scaling early-stage hard-tech technologies that represent the greatest benefit to the world – ‘King of the Hill’ innovators with megatrend-setting potential for financial return, strategic return, and contributing to society, the “triple bottom line”. 

Contribution is evaluated based on how a technology sustainably supports energy, environmental or digital transformation. Identifying the right solution is a balance of both patience and impatience. Patience in finding the right entrepreneurial pursuit to back with an unwavering sense of purpose, but impatience in the sense of urgency to solve some of the planet’s biggest problems. 

As company President Nicolas Sauvage explains, “It’s a really simple, yet critical, mission of exploration. Exploring new markets, new technologies, and the challenges facing humanity. Through exploration, we can be ready to help accelerate the right solution, when we find it.”

More than innovative technology, a primary ethos of TDK Ventures is that the right solutions are really about the entrepreneurs behind them. This is company culture, embedded in its C.O.D.E. philosophy: C – Contributing to Society, O – One Team Reaching for the Sky, D – Delivering Deep Insights, and E – Entrepreneurs First. 

“Entrepreneurs First is ingrained in our DNA,” Sauvage stated. “It’s why we wake up in the morning; it guides everything from our hiring practices to our actual functions as a company. For example, distinct from other VCs and CVCs, we have created novel functions dedicated to supporting our portfolio companies, such as marketing, legal, financial and recruitment principals.”

Together with financial backing, platform team and scaling team support, and the vast network of expertise and connections that corporate can provide, TDK Ventures works to offer as much ‘TDK Goodness’ as possible to scale the impact and minimize risk for each portfolio company.

The process is thesis driven, starting with a Deep Exploration in a given topic, then seeking and building contrarian views from first principles, a contrarian view of how the world can or should be based on what the investment team knows and what they believe to be true. The goal is to find the ‘King of the Hill’ company that could deliver a solution that meets our desired triple bottom line. 

For example, in energy transition, Ascend Elements saw not just an energy problem, but a resource problem for lithium-ion batteries. We are constrained by both the availability of rare metals and the inefficiency of material extraction. So, TDK Ventures backed startups such as Ascend Elements and Novalith, which are tackling these issues head on and are accelerating lithium-ion battery material recycling and material extraction respectively. 

Another highlighted startup was AM Batteries, working on removing toxic solvent from battery production, eliminating carbon footprint by 50% or more at cheaper infrastructure cost. Additionally, Verdagy is a firm innovating the production of hydrogen, and providing a pathway for green-hydrogen fuel to decarbonize the chemical-production industry.

“A novel approach to evaluating startups is around TDK Ventures stress testing the projects we review.” said Sauvage. New cleantech solutions initially require little of our planet’s available resources. Yet, when growing exponentially, their solution can exceed the “system limits” within, say, just four generations. Even though the third generation seemed fine, they would miss the chance to bring the expected value. Stress test means assuming these solutions will and can be massively successful at scale.

While the work to build a better tomorrow is never over, innovations growing within the TDK Ventures portfolio paint an optimistic future. Concluding, Sauvage agreed, “It is really quite a humbling honor to be able to help accelerate some amazing technologies and support the entrepreneurs behind them. It shows how truly profound an impact we can all have when we work together.” 

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