The Investment Bill Gates, Robert Downey Jr. and Jeff Bezos Have in Common

What's the big deal with Turntide Technologies?

Robert Downey Jr. at a UFC event
Outside of "Iron Man," Robert Downey Jr. invests in real-world tech, too.
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Any company that Bill Gates puts millions of dollars into is worth a gander. But when funds from the Microsoft founder, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and actor Robert Downey Jr. all invest in the same startup at the same time, it’s worth much more. 

That’s the case with Turntide Technologies, an electric motor producer that just announced the completion of an $80 million funding round, bringing total funding to $180 million. According to a press release, the investors this round included Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition Ventures, and the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, which Bezos announced in June 2020 and has previously noted its investment in Turntide.

Why all the hubbub over electric motors? TechCrunch aptly compares the technology to the LED lighting revolution: “Arguably, one of the biggest contributors in the fight against climate change to date has been the switch to the humble LED light, which has slashed hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions simply by reducing energy consumption in buildings.” Similarly, Turntide hopes to offer a more efficient electric motor that can have an impact across industries, from heating and cooling systems in buildings to electric cars.

Redesigning the electric motor could be a huge asset in the fight against climate change, but it’s not an area that has garnered mainstream attention, at least not yet. According to Bloomberg, one of the reasons Downey Jr. is investing in Turntide is the company’s focus on improving an old piece of equipment most people don’t think twice about.

“They figured out how to use a 19th century technology and use software to make it do what it always had the potential to do,” he told the outlet.

“The carbon impact of what we’re doing is pretty massive,” Turntide CEO and Chairman Ryan Morris told TechCrunch. “The average energy reduction [in buildings] has been a 64% reduction. If we can replace all the motors in buildings in the US that’s the carbon equivalent of adding over 300 million tons of carbon sequestration per year.”

But they’re not stopping at buildings in the U.S. Their goal is to “replace all of the motors in the world,” Morris told the outlet. And with financial backers like these, that may just be in the cards.

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