American Actor Robert Downey Jr. and Billionaire Microsoft Founder Bill Gates Are Betting Big on This Electric Motor Startup Company

By Elijah Labby Thursday, March 4, 2021

You may know Robert Downey Jr. for his roles as Iron Man or Sherlock Holmes; you may also know Bill Gates as the founder of Microsoft and a frequent speaker on the topics of climate change and vaccines. But now, the two are stepping into new roles: investors betting big on a startup company hoping to shake up the motor business with their own electric motor.

The electric motor manufacturing startup company is called Turntide Technologies, and their goal is to reduce emissions and subsequently climate change by making a fully electric motor.

An electric car charging.

Investments in the Business

Bill Gates and Robert Downey Jr. evidently are buying into the mission of the electric motor startup company and are looking to speed up the growth of the business via an $80 million investment from venture capital firms they and others lead.

“Turntide's technology and approach to restoring our planet will directly reduce energy consumption," said Steve Levin, co-founder of FootPrint Coalition Ventures alongside Robert Downey Jr. "We are interested in supporting companies with innovative and sustainability-focused ideas like Turntide's Smart Motor System. This technology has the potential to improve the planet in a meaningful way, and we look forward to supporting their efforts."

The startup company says that its electric motor has been retrofitted into numerous vehicles for companies as significant as BMW, Five Guys, Sprouts, JLL, and Amazon, leading to a 64% reduction in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) motor energy consumption.

Amazon’s Investment

Amazon was also among those throwing support behind the young startup company in the recent round of business funding. Its investment was part of a previous announcement for the startup company, where it pledged $2 billion in investments in anti-climate change business solutions.

"Amazon created The Climate Pledge Fund to support the development of technologies and services that will enable Amazon and other companies to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years early—achieving net-zero carbon by 2040," said Kara Hurst, who is the Vice President of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon. "We are excited to be both an investor in and a customer of Turntide as they help us on the journey to decarbonize our operations."

The Electric Motor Startup Business Market

It’s possible that Downey Jr. and Gates’s investments could pay off, both in climate impact and in the monetary success of the electric motor startup company.

The global electric motor business is expected to be worth $232.5 billion by 2028 and is growing at a compounded annual rate of 6.5% — plenty of growth for the young company to carve out its place in the larger business and reap the rewards of the growth of the larger business.

Both possibilities, with the help of Robert Downey Jr. and Bill Gates, are probable.

About the Author


Headshot of Elijah Labby

Elijah Labby is a graduate of the National Journalism Center. He has previously written for Broadband Breakfast, a technology and internet policy website.

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