The battle against a changing climate is fought on two fronts – one involving sustainability, and the other involving regeneration. Sustainability helps the environment by reducing emissions and protecting natural resources, but it can’t do much to reverse the damage that has already been done to the planet. For that, you need regenerative technologies, which require special expertise.
One company that finances that expertise is ReGen Ventures, an early-stage venture fund that invests in regenerative tech.
ReGen was founded in early 2020 by Dan Fitzgerald, a former investment banker, and hedge fund manager who began investing in climate technology a decade ago. He currently serves as ReGen’s General Partner. The company’s portfolio includes London-based Hide Biotech, which makes cow-free leather from food waste; and Seqana, a German startup that combines artificial intelligence with satellite imagery to measure soil organic carbon (SOC) at a fraction of the current cost.
Former Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario recently joined ReGen as a partner, continuing her work as an advisor and investor in companies that address the changes in the climate. She also sits on the boards of electric vehicle maker Rivian and plant-based mean company Meati.
Marcario and Fitzgerald first met years ago as investors in Bureo, a recycled plastics startup. At the time, Marcario was leading Patagonia’s investment arm, Tin Shed Ventures.
“For me, it wasn’t a hard decision to work (with ReGen),” Marcario told Fast Company in a recent interview. “Startup entrepreneurs need investors who understand these issues. Dan, and me, and the people on our advisory board are all very knowledgeable in this arena, and there are a lot of people just throwing money at ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) right now, who don’t really have the credibility to do it.”
The ReGen team also includes Will Coleman, who helped build the cleantech practice at Mohr David Ventures and later served as CEO of Lucid. Other team members are Mark Tercek, former CEO of The Nature Conservancy; Renee Beaumont, former partner of Generation Investment Management; and Georgia Vidler, former Head of Product at Canva.
Marcario joined ReGen about the same time the company announced the close of its $50 million first fund. In a press release, ReGen said the fund is the first step in its mission to move $1 billion of capital into the regenerative technology space by 2030. One goal is to “help close the $173 trillion funding gap” required to achieve a net-zero economy by 2050. ReGen will pay particular attention to areas such as food, regenerative materials, carbon, and biodiversity.
“Sustainability perpetuates the status quo – it doesn’t undo the accumulated negative consequences of the last 250 years since the Industrial Revolution,” Fitzgerald said in a recent interview with Climate Tech VC. “In our minds, that isn’t enough. We seek catalytic companies that are restoring nature, climate, and human health. Companies that solve for those inextricably linked vectors are regenerative solutions. While the goal of sustainability might be net-zero, we see that as our starting point. No company we invest in would be any worse than net-zero.”