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Planet A green-tech fund closes at €160m, 60% higher than original target 

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Published: 16 February 2023

The Berlin-based fund has its own in-house science team and invests in startups providing solutions for climate mitigation, resource savings, biodiversity protection and waste reduction.

Founding partners of Planet A Ventures (clockwise, from the back): Christian Schad, Lena Theide, Fridtjof Detzner, Nick de la Forge, Christoph Gras and Tobias Seikel | Planet A

Planet A Ventures, a Berlin-based venture capital firm focused on green technology startups, said it had closed its first fund at €160m, surpassing its original target of €100m.  

Investor appetite for the fund is further indication of strong interest in green tech in Europe, where the introduction of a sustainable investment taxonomy is encouraging green investment.    

Planet A was founded in 2020 by a group of investors, entrepreneurs and environmental experts. Founding partners include Tobias Seikel, Nick de la Forge, Fridtjof Detzner, Christian Schad, Christoph Gras and Lena Theide.  

The fund’s stated mission is to “contribute to an economy within the planetary boundaries by helping scale innovative technologies faster and supporting a science-based approach to venture capital”.  

It backs early-stage startups across multiple sectors, including agriculture, forestry and food, construction and real estate, energy and heat, manufacturing, transport and mobility, water, waste and remediation. Initial ticket sizes will be in the €0.5m-3m range.

Investors in the first fund include BMW, KfW Capital, German retailer REWE, and Danish state export and investment fund EIFO, as well as entrepreneurs including Trivago’s Rolf Schrömgens, HelloFresh’s Maximilian Backhaus and Zalando’s Rubin Ritter. 

Planet A says it only invests in companies that can demonstrate a positive, quantifiable impact in at least one of four areas: climate mitigation, resource savings, biodiversity protection and waste reduction. 

So far, it has invested in 14 early-stage green-tech startups. These include Makersite, which produces AI-driven technology to better identify supply chain decarbonisation opportunities, GA Drilling, which develops plasma drills and other technology to exploit geothermal energy, and C1, which has developed an efficient way to mass-produce green methanol. 

In-house scientific team 

Planet A says it the first European VC to operate with an in-house science team that conducts lifecycle assessments as part of the investment process, and which is able to veto investment decisions if it finds no significant positive environmental impact. 

“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,” Theide said. 

Frank Niederländer, member of the board at fund investor the BMW Foundation, described Planet A’s scientific approach to identifying and supporting ventures with high potential as “one of the most convincing we have seen so far in the market”. 

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