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  • Pippa Gawley

£10m first-close for new £30m fund

Today we are announcing the £10m first close of our new Zero Carbon Capital 2022 LP fund. We’re excited to reach this milestone toward our goal of raising £30m to invest in extraordinary early-stage European companies building innovative, scientific solutions to the biggest, hardest challenges of decarbonisation.

Six years ago, we made our first angel investment in the seed round of a climate tech startup. As people that care deeply about future of our planet, we were excited to put our business experience and scientific educations to use helping founders build businesses that could meaningfully improve the future for our kids.

Since then, we’ve invested in 17 more amazing startups in the space, first as angels in the US in companies like Lilac, MicroByre and E-Zinc, then building the portfolio of the Zero Carbon Fund in the UK. Those companies are going from strength to strength and are on track to help us tackle what is the biggest economic transition in living memory.

As we have made those investments, though, we realised that there simply isn’t enough capital going into the early-stage development and commercialisation of the transformational technologies we are going to need to solve climate change.

We look at the path to net-zero as two distinct phases.

The first phase is implementing technologies that already exist to decarbonise the economy. That means making sure we have the right policies, project finance and conditions to get things like EVs, heat pumps and induction stoves to critical mass. These changes are not easy, but we (mostly) don’t need to invent new technologies to make them happen. In aggregate, we believe these changes will get us about half way there.

Unfortunately that leaves us with a problem for the other half of humanity’s 50Gt CO2e emissions. Huge parts of the economy like industrial heating and cooling, agriculture, long-distance transport, concrete and steel currently have no economically viable path toward zero emissions. If we don’t solve these problems we are heading for a climate catastrophe. We need scientists to invent new technologies and entrepreneurs to commercialise them. Both those things need money.

As we closed out investing the first Zero Carbon Fund we realised there was space for us to do a lot more. We still want to focus on seed and pre-seed investments in companies that are led by scientific founders, solving a half-gigaton scale problems in decarbonisation. And now we’d like to expand our focus from the UK to all of Europe, have the ability to lead more rounds with bigger investments and have sufficient funds to continue to invest in portfolio companies as they grow.

The round was anchored by two large investors, including Extantia Capital’s Climate Allstars Fund-of-Funds, who both recognised the potential for both climate impact and commercial performance in the fund early on - their support and guidance has been invaluable.

If you are an investor, and interested in becoming an LP then drop us a line. If you are a European entrepreneur working on a transformational decarbonisation technology and looking for seed or pre-seed investment - we want to hear from you!


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