The Planet Fund is supported by UK media group Sky and will invest in early-stage startups tackling sustainability issues including decarbonisation, climate resilience and the circular economy
UK accelerator Founders Factory has launched a fund to raise £100m (116m) to invest in early-stage climate technology startups, backed by UK media group Sky as anchor investor.
The Planet Fund will focus on investment in startups tackling sustainability themes, such as decarbonisation, resource preservation, climate resilience and the circular economy.
It will also take on existing stakes in the 25 startups previously supported by Sky Ocean Ventures, a vehicle established in 2018 with £25m of backing from Sky.
The Planet Fund is also due to receive the proceeds from the sale of Choose Packaging, a paper bottle maker in which Sky Ocean Ventures invested, to Hewlett Packard in February. The amount was not disclosed.
Explaining the rationale for the Planet Fund, Henry Lane Fox, co-founder and CEO of Founders Factory said: “We’ve seen a huge migration of tech talent wanting to work in the climate and know there is a gap to provide high-conviction capital and hands on support to the next generation of ambitious planet-focused companies.”
Lane Fox will run the fund along with Jamie Rowles, who was previously Sky Ocean Ventures’ head of investment. The fund’s advisory board includes Founders Factory co-founder and executive chairman, Brent Hoberman and climate scientists Professor Richard Templer, and Professor Cameron Hepburn. It will be chaired by Sir Ian Cheshire, the former head of UK-based retail group Kingfisher.
Founders Factory was established in 2015 by Hoberman, Lane Fox and George Northcott, as a vehicle to develop and scale up technology start-ups solving global problems. The company says it has backed and supported the development of nearly 300 tech companies globally, more than 50 of which have been built from scratch in its Venture Studio.
The organisation has already increased its involvement in climate tech. Founders Factory launched G-Force, a pre-seed investment programme for climate start-ups in September 2021, it has formed a partnership with social innovation charity Nesta to create ventures tackling household carbon emissions and is involved in Blue Action Lab, a recently established ocean technology programme.