Germany-based venture capital investor Planet A Ventures announced today the close of its first fund, raising €160 million to back green-tech startups in Europe, utilizing a science-based, impact-focused approach in its investment process.
Founded in 2020, Planet A invests in startups with innovative technologies that can have a significant positive impact on solving the world’s largest environmental problems. In addition to considering business model criteria, the fund also selects investments based on the significance of the technology’s positive impact, utilizing an in-house science team, a first for a European VC fund, according to the firm.
Factors considered by the science team to assess lifecycle impact include all resources, material flows, and emissions of products and services, encompassing extraction of raw materials, production, transport, use, and end of life.
Planet A Founding Partner Lena Thiede, who leads the scientific impact measurement, said:
“Many funds look at CO2 emissions only. We go beyond climate mitigation and also look at biodiversity protection, resource savings, and waste reduction. Our scientific assessments allow us to understand how much better an innovation is compared to the status quo. This in turn enables us to identify the winners of the massive economic transformation that we are seeing.”
The fund backs early-stage European software and hardware startups across a broad range of sectors, including agriculture, forestry and food, construction and real estate, energy and heat, manufacturing, transport and mobility, water, waste and remediation. Planet A has invested in 14 green-tech startups to date, with portfolio companies including supply chain decarbonization tech provider Makersite, and carbon mineralization technology company 44.01.
Fridtjof Detzner, Founding Partner at Planet A, said:
“Green-tech and impact investing is no longer a niche in venture capital. But in order to scale solutions fast enough, we need to ask ourselves what impact our investments really have on the planet. There are scientific methods and enough data to do that, we just need to use them to empower founders that make a difference. That’s exactly what we do at Planet A.”
LP investors in the fund include BMW, KfW Capital, German retailer REWE, Danish state investment fund Vaekstfonden/EIFO, and entrepreneurs including Rolf Schrömgens (Trivago), Maximilian Backhaus (HelloFresh) and Rubin Ritter (Zalando).
BWM Foundation Board member Frank Niederländer said:
“We are witnessing a fundamental shift in regulation and capital, creating new markets and enormous advantages for green-tech startups. Planet A’s scientific approach to identify and support such game-changing ventures is one of the most convincing we have seen so far in the market.”