Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons

Nat and Laura have worked together in the financial industry for over twenty-five years. Nat is Chairman, and Laura is General Counsel at Meritage Group LP, a U.S.-based investment management firm. They were previously principals at Renaissance Technologies, a quantitative hedge fund founded by Nat’s father, Jim Simons. Nat continues to serve on the Renaissance Board.

In 2006, Nat and Laura decided that they wanted to start scaling their philanthropy and, in doing so, focus on one of the world’s most challenging problems—they chose climate and clean energy, given the urgency and scope of the problem, as well as the importance of philanthropy to help catalyze the solutions. That year they co-founded Sea Change Foundation (SCF), which works to support private and public policies and foster investments and practices that will reduce the most substantial sources of greenhouse gas emissions (i.e., climate mitigation). Nat and Laura are currently co-directors of both SCF and Sea Change Foundation International (SCFI), the latter of which focuses on international climate issues. A small team at Tempest Advisors advises both private foundations on their climate philanthropy. In 2019, SCF and several other climate funders established the Climate Leadership Initiative (CLI) to work with high-net-worth families interested in engaging in climate philanthropy and to promote collaboration among funders. Nat and Laura joined the Giving Pledge in 2017.

Realizing the importance of both philanthropy and investment as tools to solve complex problems, Nat and Laura set up a climate tech venture investing platform in 2009, which later became Prelude Ventures. The initial purpose of the platform was to help fill the investment void left by the collapse of early climate tech venture and to complement their philanthropy strategy. Similar to their philanthropy, they built a small but effective team at Prelude Ventures to manage their climate tech investing and to partner with other investors and entrepreneurs within the space. Nat and Laura are members of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

Nat has a B.A. in Economics and an M.A. in Mathematics from U.C. Berkeley. He is a member of the U.C. Berkeley External Affairs Committee and served for ten years on the U.C. Berkeley Board of Visitors.

Laura has a B.A. in Economics and German and an M.A. in German Literature from U.C. Berkeley, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. Laura serves as a member of the U.C. Berkeley College of Letters & Science Advisory Board, the U.C. Berkeley National Campaign Steering Committee, and the Stanford Law School Dean’s Advisory Council.

Nat and Laura live in Berkeley, CA, and have two children, both of whom are currently living and working in New York City.