Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and other billionaires are betting on a bacteria that could change the way we grow food

Bill Gates

Nitrogen-fixing bacteria may not sound like the most alluring topic, but it’s capturing the attention of the world’s most influential billionaires, who see it as a concrete way to help save the planet.

If the technology pans out, this long-dormant bacteria could alter the future of energy and agriculture by reducing environmental pollution, protecting the world’s marine ecosystem, lowering production costs for farmers, and conserving energy usage.

In September, a group of billionaire investors, including Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Michael Bloomberg, set aside $1 billion to invest in nine energy startups. The investments are part of a fund called Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), which provides companies with “patient capital,” or money that doesn’t require a return on investment for up to 20 years. This gives scientists and engineers time to refine their transformative energy technologies.

In its latest round of funding, California-based startup Pivot Bio raised $70 million for its genetically modified bacteria, with the majority of funds coming from BEV.

Farmers are using too much fertilizer.

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Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and other billionaires are betting on a bacteria that could change the way we grow food

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