Clementum Capital, a new investment fund to support European startups that reduce CO2 emissions

150 million euros. This is the package that Climentum Capital plans to put together by the end of the year to be able to invest in 25 climate technology startups in Europe, with seed tickets ranging from 1 to 5 million euros.

Target sectors of activity? “Those with the greatest CO2 reduction potential”, – answers Yoann Bernaud, one of the initiators of the project. These include next-generation renewable energy, food and agriculture, industry and manufacturing, buildings and architecture, transport and mobility, and waste and materials. A wide spectrum.

No investments have been announced yet, but the Toulouse native does list several projects: drones to improve forest exploitation, recycling wind turbine blades, sustainable seafood production, making data centers more energy efficient, using algae. as nutrients for fish…

Red wire? technologies. “As absolute techies, we believe that deep technology or hardware (breakthrough or hardware innovation) has the ability to make radical positive changes”explains this former engineer who spent the beginning of his career in Silicon Valley … before realizing, after an unfortunate experience, that he was better off devoting his career to meaningful initiatives.

Firstly, finances, secondly, the impact on the environment

Thus, the goal of each investment will be to reduce CO2 emissions by at least one million tons per year. One way to respond to the criticisms that are sometimes leveled against “green technologies” is to position themselves in the market for carbon offsets and, ultimately, to sell pollution rights.

“We are one of the first venture capital funds in Europe with a dual transfer model based on financial and environmental impact objectives”, assures Yoann Bernaud. One of the partners, the Danish Stefan Maard, as an expert in this topic, will measure the impact, at the beginning of each investment, of the entire life cycle of the project in order to measure its real results, direct and indirect.

A controversial challenge? What decisions should be made before a startup with strong environmental potential but a less promising economic model? “Firstly, it’s the financial aspect, and secondly, the impact,” Johann Bernaud immediately objects. By scaling logic, the more important the first, the more important the second. Clementum Capital seeks an annual return on investment of over 20%.

This positioning can cause different opinions, as the 35-year-old entrepreneur, the founder of 3 startups, one of which is solar energy in Kenya, admitted. “But the challenge is that we have to go all out, from sobriety to innovation. Just as software ate the world, we believe that climate technology will eat the world within the next ten years,” he continues, paraphrasing the famous American investor Marc Andreessen.

Extension of Climate Tech

Modern figures can confirm this. According to a report by Dealroom, a data aggregator of European startups, “climate technology” is the fastest growing funding sector in Europe, with investments rising from USD 1.1 billion in 2017 to USD 11 billion in 2021. will even exceed 1,500 billion dollars by 2025 on a global scale, of which more than a third will go to the field of electrification of transport.

An impulse that awakens the greed of investors. A recent PwC report counted nearly 2,500 active worldwide in mid-2021, up from fewer than 1,600 a year earlier. The French private equity professional association France Invest has 92 impact funds in France in 2021.

Not a week goes by without an announcement of a new startup, like Kiko Ventures in London a few days ago. Making some fear the emergence of a climate tech bubble similar to clean tech fifteen years ago.

A prospect that hardly worries Johann Burno and his European partners (two Danes living in Copenhagen, a Swede living in Stockholm, and a German who lives, like him, in Berlin). “We will hit the climate wall at full speed if we do nothing by 2030. Both consumers and companies are increasingly aware of this, and they will have to change their habits with a forced step”, he confirms. The name Climentum, a portmanteau of Climate and Momentum (translated as “climatic momentum”) exists to remind us.