Over the past four years, Vinod Khosla has become the world's foremost investor in environmental startups. These investments have made him the most prominent of an increasingly rare breed, the so-called angel investors who put their own funds into the youngest of companies-including outfits that are pursuing the most innovative, but not yet commercially viable, approaches to serious problems such as global warming. He has been on a campaign to end American dependence on petroleum since oil was trading at a quarter of its present price. He hopes to improve the world by developing, for example, cleaner-burning coal and cars that run leaner, but his more fundamental motivations seem to be the size of the potential market and, even more important, the intellectual challenge of intractable problems. What makes him invincible is that he doesn't care if you don't think well of him.
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