Swiss investment firm Lombard Odier Group and a billionaire from the family behind Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche Holding AG are among a cast of big name investors in a new climate change venture capital fund.
With a first close of $70 million and a target size of $200 million, the Systemiq Capital Fund II will focus on climate tech companies that help reduce emissions and improve sustainability in areas from food production to building materials and transportation, according to a statement. The London-based fund is managed by Systemiq Capital, an investment firm that was spun out of sustainability consultancy Systemiq.
Other investors include Chad Holliday, former chairman of Shell Plc and Bank of America Corp., and a fund set up by Jeremy Grantham and his wife Hannelore. Grantham, co-founder of investment firm Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo (GMO), announced plans in 2019 to devote about $1 billion to fight climate change.
With more investors seeking to deploy funds in sustainable assets, there’s growing interest in companies working on products with a low-carbon footprint and those developing technologies to lower emissions. Climate tech startups are on track for record funding this year, with first-quarter investment in the sector rising 131% to $15.7 billion, according to BloombergNEF. Among venture capital investors, about 14 cents of every $1 is earmarked for climate tech, PwC reported.
“We are finally starting to see momentum for a cleaner, fairer, more resilient economy build across business, in finance, among governments and in wider society, and the big question is how can we accelerate these shifts?” said Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever Plc and founding shareholder in Systemiq Capital, in the statement. “Making sure the best climate tech innovations are ready and available is key.”
Other investors in the fund include Mark Cutifani, former CEO of mining giant Anglo American Plc; Erik Frywald, the boss of seed and fertilizer giant Syngenta AG; sustainability investor Stephen Brenninkmeijer; the Deutsche Post Foundation; and Andre Hoffmann, great grandson of the founder of Roche, who has a net worth of $6.9 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Irena Spazzapan, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. commodities banker who heads Systemiq Capital’s investment team, said the new fund provides “capital for systems change.” Systemiq Capital’s first fund, launched in 2018, invested in companies focused on regenerative land use, developing new chemistries for low carbon materials, as well as carbon removals and biodiversity restoration.
(Adds data from PwC in fourth paragraph.)
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