Felicity O’Kelly, principal at Climate Investment, is one of our Top 50 Rising Stars in corporate venturing for 2024.

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Felicity O’Kelly has been at Climate Investment, the decarbonisation-focused venture capital firm founded by the corporates in the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, since 2019 and was promoted to principal this year, but she started out as a founder. 

In 2017 O’Kelly was founding CEO of MossPod, working on carbon capture technology to cut air pollution in urban areas. The startup wound down after two years but that exposure to VCs and pitching competitions gave her an appetite for interacting with entrepreneurs. It also means she can bring a level of empathy with her. 

“Being a founder is amazing but it’s really hard,” she says. “Having that understanding of how hard it is, what the pitfalls are and how much of their time and their life these founders and CEOs put into their companies, being able to help the founders and understand things from their perspective is helpful.” 

Although she had no background in financing prior to Climate Investment, O’Kelly brought a focus on solving climate issues, informed by degrees in physical geography and environmental technology. 

O’Kelly began nurturing a passion for gardening during the Covid lockdowns and now grows her own fruit and vegetables. She has a board seat at two of Climate Investment’s portfolio companies and board observer positions at two more. She’s also looking to help boost early-stage climate tech startups, the ones that could be a part of the fund’s future.  

“Recently, I’ve been focused on helping the funnel,” she says. “I’ve been trying to reach out into the very early stages of company building, for example, the seed stage and potentially angel investing to try and support that early-stage funnel.  

“Because at Climate Investment we invest at a slightly later stage and I want to support the funnel to get to us, so I can put the institutional capital to work.”