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Katapult Ocean Deep Blue Fund makes 12 early-stage investments

Published: 6 October 2023

All 12 investments will join Katapult’s accelerator programme to improve their growth prospects and strengthen their impact focus. 

One of the companies joining Katapult’s accelerator programme is Coral Vita, a Bahamas-based company growing diverse, resilient, and affordable coral to preserve reefs | Coral Vita/Katapult

Nordic impact investors Katapult have announced 12 investments through the Katapult Ocean Deep Blue Fund.  

The fund, which raised €25m at first close at the end of last year, will invest between €150,000 and €500,000 in each of the companies, chosen from a pipeline of 1800 investments. 

All 12 companies are early-stage investments and will receive the investment upfront before being onboarded onto Katapult’s newly launched 12-week accelerator programme.  

The Katapult ocean investment team aims to invest into circa 40 early-stage companies globally, whose combined investment value will account for 20% of the fund portfolio, with the bulk of the portfolio (80%) invested into around 16 to 20 Series A or Series B companies, most of which will be follow-on investments from Katapult’s Ocean Funds 1, 2 and 3.  

The fund has already allocated €11m to a range of companies this year, including to Ocean Rainforest, a seaweed farming company in the Faroe Islands, and Matter, a UK-based microplastics capture company, both of which are follow-on investments from Katapult Ocean Fund 3, as well as into Evoy, a Norwegian electric boating company and a follow-on investment from Katapult Ocean Fund 1. 

Speaking to Impact Investor, Ross Brooks, general partner in the Katapult Ocean team, explained: “The bulk of the portfolio is invested in proven follow-on investments from our earlier funds, which have ironed out their tech risk and started on their commercial journey, allowing us to support more earlier stage companies.” 

“We’re quite unique in that we are skin in with the founding teams of the companies from the outset. By investing upfront, we are incentivised and behind the acceleration and success of the company throughout the programme,” he added. 

Katapult Ocean Deep Blue Fund has a total fundraising target of €50m by the end of this year, with a hard cap of €75m. Existing investors include ocean VC fund of funds Planet Ocean Fund, impact platform Builders Vision, ocean philanthropy organisation Oceankind, Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, non-profit impact investment specialists Impact Assets, as well as a number of family offices.  

Accelerator programme 

Katapult’s accelerator programme is open to investments across the company’s three focus areas of ocean, climate and Africa. In the ocean area, it will target ocean start-ups in the fields of food, transport, energy, natural assets, infrastructure and ‘new frontiers’, which Brooks described as “data and communications enabling technologies”, and has been divided into three month-long modules helping companies to define their impact strategy, fundraising strategy and growth plans. 

“We want to help companies with their theory of change, to map the impact metrics they can and should measure, to demonstrate their positive impact as well as to comply with different regulations and reporting requirements,” said Brooks. “We will also help them to plan their long term fund raising and capital strategy and depending on the individual company’s ambitions, whether its achieving commercial traction or raising funds, we will also make introductions to our network based on those specific KPIs.” 

Restoring corals and ocean carbon removal 

Two of the 12 ocean companies joining the accelerator programme, include Coral Vita, a Bahamas-based company growing diverse, resilient, and affordable coral to preserve reefs, and VyCarb, a New York-based startup, sequestering carbon from the sea. 

Explaining what attracted the team to the two investments, Jonas Skattum Svegaarden, general partner and CEO of the Katapult Ocean team, said that existing models for coral reef restoration did not scale. 

“Coral farming for reef restoration has been in practice for several decades, but most projects utilize ocean-based nurseries which have limited ecological and scaling impact, and are run by NGOs or scientists that rely on limited grants and donations,” said Skattum Svegaarden. “Coral Vita is the first entity to use a commercial land-based coral farming model to scale reef restoration.” 

In the case of carbon sequestration from the ocean, Skattum Svegaarden said that problems with scalability, high deployment costs and a lack of accurate measurement remained key inhibitors to water carbon chemistry management, whether for improved carbon credit generation, aquaculture or environmental management.  

“VyCarb’s modular, autonomous systems allow for cost-effective and precise alkalinity enhancement plus carbon removal via direct and continuous measurement, reporting and verification (MRV), ensuring that the resulting waters are of ideal chemistry for the customer’s target operation,” he added. 

The other ocean companies in the cohort to join the accelerator programme, include Hullbot, Sway, Gigablue, Icodos, Triton Anchor, Syrenna, New Fish, Pascal Technologies, W-sense and Mocean Energy

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