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Steve Jurvetson and The Metals Company on ocean mining, the EV market, and AI's tech impact | E1959

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Steve Jurvetson and The Metals Company on ocean mining, the EV market, and AI's tech impact | E1959

Steve Jurvetson and Gerard Barron join Jason (00:00:00)

EV market growth and challenges (00:01:50)

  • The global transition to electric vehicles (EVs) is well underway, with EV sales increasing by 52% year-over-year.
  • Tesla and BYD in China are the leading competitors in the EV market.
  • The massive growth in EV sales is stressing the global mineral market and causing geopolitical tensions.
  • The environmentally heavy race to extract the required materials for EVs from the ground is a concern.
  • Steve Jurvetson's guest is working on a solution to the challenges of EV production by looking to the ocean for minerals.
  • Ocean mining offers the potential to extract minerals without the environmental damage caused by traditional mining methods.
  • The Metals Company, co-founded by Gerard Barron, is developing technology for ocean mining and has already identified promising locations for mineral extraction.
  • Ocean mining could provide a sustainable source of minerals for EV production and reduce the environmental impact of the EV transition.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is having a major impact on technology, with advances in machine learning and natural language processing.
  • AI is being used in various fields, including healthcare, finance, and transportation.
  • AI has the potential to revolutionize industries and create new opportunities for innovation.
  • However, there are also concerns about the potential negative impacts of AI, such as job displacement and privacy issues.

The mission of The Metals Company (00:02:42)

  • The Metals Company aims to collect polymetallic nodules from the ocean floor, which they refer to as "batteries in a rock."
  • Steve Jurvetson, a founding partner of Future Ventures, is enthusiastic about the company's potential.
  • Jurvetson believes in the future of sustainable transportation and the transition to electric vehicles.
  • He emphasizes the importance of batteries in energy generation, storage, and transportation.
  • Jurvetson expresses concerns about the potential shortage of raw materials, such as nickel, cobalt, copper, and manganese, needed for battery production.
  • He criticizes the current practice of mining these materials from environmentally sensitive areas like tropical rainforests.
  • The Metals Company proposes an alternative method of obtaining these raw materials by collecting polymetallic nodules from the ocean floor.
  • These nodules are described as free-standing and not attached to anything, making them easier to collect.
  • Jurvetson highlights the environmental benefits of ocean mining compared to traditional mining methods, as it takes place in an area with minimal life forms.
  • The company aims to provide a geopolitically secure source of these materials for countries like the United States and the West, reducing reliance on China.
  • Ocean mining offers the potential to minimize further climate change and environmental degradation caused by current mining practices.

Gerard Barron explains polymetallic nodules (00:05:54)

  • Polymetallic nodules rich in nickel, cobalt, and manganese were discovered on the ocean floor in the 1870s.
  • The Clarion-Clipperton Zone, located off the coast of Mexico, holds the world's largest deposit of these metals.
  • The Metals Company has been studying the ocean floor for over a decade and has applied for exploration and exploitation licenses from the International Seabed Authority.
  • Commercial nodule collection is expected to begin in 2026 after regulatory approvals.
  • The Metals Company uses robotic vessels to collect the nodules, which are then processed to extract the metals.
  • The demand for these metals is expected to increase as more electric vehicles are produced.

Eight Sleep - Head to and use code TWIST to get $350 off the Pod 4 Ultra. (00:13:59)

  • Eight Sleep's Pod 4 Ultra is a mattress topper that can cool or warm each side of the bed independently.
  • It can cool down each side of the bed to 20° F below room temperature.
  • It also has an adjustable base that can elevate the head of the bed to help with snoring.
  • It has sensors that track sleep time, sleep phases, HRV, and heart rate.
  • Steve Jurvetson invested in the company because he loves the product.

Robotic vacuuming and ocean nodules (00:15:34)

  • The Metals Company uses a converted oil and gas drilling ship called The Hidden Gem for ocean mining.
  • The Hidden Gem is connected to a riser, which is a vertical transport mechanism, and an electrical cable connected to a robot on the seafloor.
  • The robot uses a jet of water to create an inverse pressure that lifts the nodules from the ocean floor.
  • The company has conducted pilot collection and studied the environmental impacts of ocean mining.
  • The Metals Company has spent $500 million over the last decade, much of it on scientific research to show the impact of ocean mining.

Environmentalists' perspectives on ocean mining (00:19:17)

  • Steve Jurvetson and Lex Fridman discuss the environmental impact of electric vehicles and the need for responsible resource extraction.
  • Some environmentalists oppose any resource extraction, while others support environmentally beneficial methods.
  • The best approach is to determine the most environmentally beneficial way to extract resources and generate energy.
  • Resistance to carbon-neutral energy sources, such as nuclear energy, can have negative environmental consequences.
  • The Metals Company has conducted extensive research on the environmental impacts of ocean mining and found that it can significantly reduce the environmental impact of nickel production compared to land-based mining.
  • Steve Jurvetson criticizes those who oppose ocean mining while supporting environmentally destructive practices on land and compares ocean mining to nuclear power, arguing that it is a better option than burning coal and oil.

Steve Jurvetson and The Metals Company on ocean mining, the EV market, and AI's tech impact | E1959 (00:00:00)

  • Steve Jurvetson, a venture capitalist, discusses various topics with The Metals Company, an ocean mining company.
  • The Metals Company is developing technology to extract valuable metals from the ocean floor.
  • The company believes that ocean mining can be done in a sustainable way and can help reduce the environmental impact of traditional mining.
  • The Metals Company is currently working on a pilot project in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Jurvetson believes that the electric vehicle (EV) market is poised for significant growth.
  • He cites several factors driving EV adoption, including government incentives, falling battery costs, and increasing consumer demand for sustainable transportation.
  • Jurvetson predicts that EVs will eventually replace gasoline-powered vehicles.
  • Jurvetson discusses the potential impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on various industries.
  • He believes that AI will have a transformative effect on sectors such as healthcare, finance, and transportation.
  • Jurvetson emphasizes the importance of ethical considerations in the development and use of AI.

Deep dive into VC with Steve Jurvetson (00:29:47)

  • Steve Jurvetson and The Metals Company discussed ocean mining, the EV market, and the technological impact of AI.
  • The Metals Company is an investment in deep science and technology with a long-term portfolio approach.
  • Ocean mining has the potential for significant returns but also carries risks.
  • The Metals Company controls three license areas for ocean mining, sponsored by developing countries.
  • China is the largest license holder for ocean mining, with five exploration licenses granted by the International Seabed Authority.
  • Royalties for ocean mining are being negotiated, and there are rules and regulations around license usage and duration.
  • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has provisions to prevent squatting in the ocean.
  • Exploration licenses are given for a year and can be divided into three five-year plans.
  • License holders must invest in improving the ground to be eligible for a 30-year exploitation license.
  • The Metals Company has a six to seven-year advantage over other license applicants due to its efficient team and readiness for production.
  • Steve Jurvetson expresses surprise at the orderly and efficient process of the regulatory body for ocean mining.
  • Unlike the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which has not approved a single thing in 45 years, this body has a deadline for finalizing regulations.
  • If the regulations are not finalized by the deadline, companies can commence operations, similar to the FDA's de facto approval process.
  • There is a lower threshold for commencement voting, preventing hold-ups due to disagreements among nations.
  • Steve Jurvetson mentions his investment in The Metals Company and his past association with Steve Jobs.
  • Jurvetson worked with Steve Jobs and describes him as a unique individual.

Geopolitical aspects of deep-sea mining and future outlook (00:40:50)

  • The Metals Company is working on ocean mining to extract valuable metals like nickel, copper, and cobalt from polymetallic nodules on the ocean floor.
  • Ocean mining offers a more sustainable alternative to traditional land-based mining and could reduce the environmental impact of rainforest nickel mining.
  • The company aims to make the US mineral independent by reducing reliance on foreign sources of critical metals.
  • Steve Jobs remained passionate about Apple during his "Exile" era, discussing its future and expressing a desire to return.
  • In 1994, Jobs visited Jurvetson's house, signed his Apple extended keyboard, and shared his dislike for function keys.
  • Steve Jobs and Elon Musk share a similar sensitivity to visual imperfections in product design.
  • Jurvetson believes Apple needs new leadership to drive innovation, citing Microsoft's turnaround as an example.
  • Large companies like Apple or Google make significant impacts by entering new businesses rather than restructuring existing ones.
  • Apple should explore new markets or industries to foster innovation instead of focusing on incremental improvements.
  • AI has the potential to reshape the world like the mobility age, but envisioning specific products is challenging.
  • The speaker's strength lies in identifying unique adjacencies to big unmet needs and recognizing innovative ideas.

The age of AI and its impact on technology (00:52:01)

  • Steve Jurvetson suggests that Apple could revolutionize the housing industry, similar to how they disrupted the music industry.
  • The construction industry has faced declining labor productivity over the past 30 years, making it ripe for innovation and disruption.
  • Jurvetson highlights challenges faced by companies that receive excessive funding, including difficulty in raising capital for competitors and disruption of industry pricing points.
  • The Metals Company is actively hiring environmental scientists, with over 100 scientists currently working on their program through partnerships.
  • The Metals Company discussed ocean mining, the EV market, and AI's tech impact with Steve Jurvetson.
  • The Metals Company operates with a capital-light business model and relies on partners like Allseas for expertise in oil and gas deposition.
  • The company focuses on permitting, social license, and environmental aspects.
  • Their website is medals.co, and the ticker symbol is TMC.

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