Innovation and investment in climate tech are ramping up across Europe. Reflecting this, Kiko Ventures has launched as the world’s first evergreen cleantech venture investor, with a platform of over €427 million dedicated to climate tech innovators.
Both the investment space and the wider startup community in Europe have woken up to the importance of innovation in the climate tech space, and Europe has real potential to become a world leader in this market. Across the continent, more and more investments are being made into startups pushing forward the green agenda, and it’s a welcome sign to see.
Making a colossal statement of commitment to climate tech innovation, Kiko Ventures has just launched. It’s the world’s first evergreen cleantech venture investor. Backed by the FTSE 250-listed investment firm, IP Group, the platform of over €427 million is earmarked to invest in the next generation of climate tech visionaries and to create new possibilities for a regenerative future.
Arne Morteani, Founding Partner of Kiko Ventures explained: “The climate crisis is the greatest challenge of our generation and from that challenge come new and life-changing possibilities for a regenerative world. I have been a part of the cleantech ecosystem for 20 years, most recently as a partner at a traditional VC. With Kiko we are now adding a new approach providing flexible, regenerative capital to address some of the most difficult challenges. We strive to be an investor that is fit for purpose as well as profit.”
The team plans to deploy around €233 million over the next five years using IP Group’s flexible capital platform. Kiko will launch with existing assets, as well as a number of new investments already made under the Kiko strategy that is yet to be announced. The venture benefits from IP Group’s evergreen structure – through which returns from exits can be recycled into new opportunities, allowing for a true evergreen portfolio without crossover between fund vehicles and with a very long time horizon.
This longevity is a crucial part of what makes this fund so important. It’s thinking long-term and will help grow the climate tech champions of the future. It also marks a big shake-up for VC investing generally, giving much-needed flexibility to a system that’s currently too structurally constrained to optimally address the climate challenge.
The need to address the climate crisis, and the increasing urgency of this need, is nothing new. Across Europe, more and more investments have been geared toward climate tech and clean tech as it’s becoming clear that currently, we just are not moving fast enough to tackle the problems.
Figures from Climate Tech VC suggest global investment in climate tech innovation reached an all-time last year. In addition, current global supply chain issues and energy crises are demonstrating that now, more than ever, we need to transition to greener and more sustainable habits and societies.
Despite a healthy interest in investing in climate tech, and governmental support with Europe’s ambition to reach net-zero, most investors in the space operate traditional fund structures or need to adhere to the commercial agendas of corporate venture capital (CVC), imposing constraints on the existing financing landscape. This is where Kiko Ventures will be able to make a big difference.
The Kiko team is made up of industry experts, lef by veterans Robert Trezona and Jamie Vollbracht, with new Partner Arne Morteani, who previously spent 14 years helping to build one of Europe’s leading cleantech VC funds. It’s comprised of people who know how the funding landscape works, and know what changes needed to be made to maximise impact.
Robert Trezona, Founding Partner of Kiko Ventures commented: “I believe in the transformative power of climate technologies and have worked my whole career to elevate ideas from the lab into practical usable solutions that can make our world a better place. We’ve launched Kiko to unleash the full power of human ingenuity by uniting ideas, expertise and capital to unlock a sustainable future. To do this, we’ve created an investment model of truly flexible capital that empowers change, rather than hindering it.”
This team has now designed Kiko Ventures, which leverages IP Group’s evergreen platform to take a more flexible approach, without the short time horizons, fixed capital constraints, and narrow mandates that are common in the industry. Kiko is therefore exceptionally aligned with entrepreneurs wanting to build category-leading companies for the long term. The team aims to enrich the existing ecosystem and become a reliable partner, to both entrepreneurs and fellow investors, in building a regenerative future.
By operating as an evergreen platform, without a fixed 10-year mandate, Kiko can be highly flexible – able to do what’s required, not held back by constraints. It can be entrepreneurial through venture creation of new companies, investing at Seed and Series A/B stage or choosing to capitalise on opportunities in the public capital markets.
Further, with the team’s expertise in climate tech more generally, they will be able to invest directly in those startups and innovations that will bring big returns. The team has historically made ambitious investments in high-conviction areas. Examples include fuel cell firm Ceres Power, which the team helped to take to unicorn exit; First Light Fusion, which recently achieved the world’s first fusion result; and Oxbotica, a pioneer in autonomous mobility software supplying some of the world’s largest companies like BP and ZF.
Jamie Vollbracht, Founding Partner of Kiko Ventures said: “My realisation about the urgency of the climate crisis came shortly after leaving University and I decided to devote my career to doing what I could to help. I found I was most useful in commercialising innovative clean technologies and have sought to develop better ways to help those technologies flourish ever since. Kiko brings together all the insight I’ve been fortunate to glean over the past two decades and I hope it will make an outsized positive impact on the journey to a sustainable future.
The launch of this fund certainly marks an exciting day for Europe’s investment space, and is a positive sign that we’ve been waiting for that climate tech is firmly on the agenda. Let’s watch this space!