Bringing Europe to Net-Zero: Green-focused investors and what they’re looking for

The EU Green Deal was developed with the goal to push Europe to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 – achieving this requires investments and commitments to new emerging tech. Besides public investment, private investors also play an important role.

The EU taxonomy regulation with the “do no harm” principle is directing investors to invest in more eco-friendly projects, and, it provides them with a framework to prevent investing in greenwashing projects. It’s all part of the process to ensure that Europe leads the green revolution and our planet is protected for future generations. 

The environmental objectives of the EU taxonomy are:

  1. Climate change mitigation
  2. Climate change adaptation
  3. The sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources
  4. The transition to a circular economy
  5. Pollution prevention and control
  6. The protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems

In this context, it’s no wonder that the number of green investments and investors in the EU is increasing, this is alongside growing commitments from investors in sustainability. So, we thought we would highlight 5 green investors and investigate what they’re looking for.

Together, we can use innovation and fresh ideas to support a new, greener Europe. 

The European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF)

The ECBF is a growth-stage VC firm based in Luxembourg with the vision to bring Europe’s circular technologies to market. The firm aims to provide access to finance to innovative solutions that enable the transition from a linear economy to a more sustainable circular one, and the European Investment Bank is a cornerstone investor.  The European Circular Bioeconomy Fund focuses on cutting-edge innovations and business models in agritech, blue economy and fishery, bio-based chemicals and materials, nutrition, packaging, and home and personal care. Eligibility for investments goes hand in hand with a commitment to ESG criteria of the supported company. Innovations focusing on CO2 reduction, biodiversity, circularity, and toxic-substance mitigation are all highly valued. In February, the firm announced its oversubscribed €300 million fund that’s aiming to fuel a bio revolution across Europe.

Climate VC

Launched in London this year with the mission to instigate positive change in climate change investing, Climate VC is looking to invest €41 million over the next three years. The fund will take an impact-first investment strategy, looking for net-zero founders that are too often overlooked by traditional VC. Climate VC wants to disrupt the traditional VC approach to climate innovation by putting as much emphasis on the climate impact of a venture as the commercial return. Initial investments include Global OTEC – founded by Dan Grech – an affordable, clean, baseload power for tropical island nations harnessing the temperature difference between warm surface water and cold deep water at sea to produce electricity. It is also investing in Tierra Foods – founded by Marcela Flores and Angela Newton – which is scaling agroforestry in Latin America, producing sustainable and scalable ingredients while restoring lost rainforest.

Sustainable Ventures

Based in London, Sustainable Ventures is one of the leading climate tech investors in the UK. The firm was founded in 2011 with the aim to empower sustainable startups to scale through a focus on community, investment, innovation and workspace. They invest specifically in early-stage start-ups addressing climate change and resource scarcity. Besides that, Sustainable Ventures have committed to supporting more female entrepreneurs. They also run the Sustainable Accelerator combining equity investment and professional support for commercialization. So far, the firm has over 300 startups in its ecosystem including the likes of Good Club, Powervault, and Earthly.

Future Energy Ventures

Future Energy Ventures, with headquarters in Germany, invests in startups that are transforming the energy ecosystem and paving the way for renewable energy. Their focus is on digital, scalable, and asset-light companies seeking Series A and beyond funding and demonstrating product-market fit. Future Energy Ventures recognizes that the energy industry must collaborate with other sectors in order to create a sustainable and prosperous future. For this reason, they go beyond energy generation and invest in companies solving energy-related problems in cities or building frontier technology as well. The firm was founded in 2020 to contribute towards a new energy future, viewing the system as interconnected – electric cars are not just vehicles, they are also mobile batteries; buildings can also be energy generators; homes and businesses can be smart and connected, regulating the energy they use and when. Future Energy Ventures is born from the energy industry, but it understands energy must converge with other sectors to create a sustainable and prosperous future. Their portfolio includes gridX, Buildots and Calipsa.

EEC Ventures

Founded in 2012, EEC Ventures is a Polish independent venture capital firm that manages two funds that invest in Eastern and Central European innovation in areas such as Energy Sector, Industry 4.0 / IoT, ICT & Cybersecurity, Process Efficiency, Smart Utilities / Smart Infrastructure, AI / Big Data, Circular Economy & Cleantech, Advanced Materials supporting energy optimization or environmental protection. They focus on companies in the development stage, seed, and expansion. Target companies should provide the market with products or services that respond to global issues, including: energy demand increase, natural resources reduction, waste problems, reducing CO2 emissions, or, upgrading utilities infrastructure.

By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!