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Planet First Partners closes fund with €450m 

Published: 9 February 2023

The fund has made two investments so far, in industrial electrolysis company Sunfire, and specialists in immersion cooling technology for datacentres Submer

Planet First Partners‘ first investments include Sunfire which uses industrial electrolysers to produce renewable hydrogen and syngas | Sunfire’s employee at the company’s Dresden base by Sebastian Kahnert/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

London-based Planet First Partners has closed its second funding round with a total fund size of €450m, overshooting its initial target by €100m. 

Raising €210m, this latest fundraising round was led by Ingka Group, the holding company and largest franchisee of IKEA retail stores. Other investors include large family offices from Europe, Asia, South America and a large Belgian financial institution that could not be named.  

The fund, launched in 2020, targets growth stage companies with proven products and services that it says will maximise social, environmental and economic returns. 

The investment thesis focuses on four themes, including farm to fork (sustainable farming, food production and systems), industry 4.0 (sustainable, efficient and affordable energy systems), energy transition (sustainable energy infrastructure and operations to market) and green cities (innovative mobility, logistics, utilities and construction technologies).

Frédéric de Mévius, executive chairman at Planet First Partners, said: “There are a growing number of innovative, growth-stage companies that will be able to play a significant role in the transition of our economy, with the appropriate backing and operational support. 

Targeting a range of 10-12 investments once fully invested, the firm said its investment strategy was to take minority positions as lead of co-lead investor with a board seat and strong minority rights. Initial investments will be between €10m and €35m with the room to invest up to €50 in any single investment.  

In response to questions from Impact Investor, de Mévius added: “We take board seats and governance rights to help de-risk our investment profiles and ensure we can adequately support the company in a partnered approach that aligns interests with management.” 

Investment portfolio 

The fund has, so far, made two investments in industrial electrolysis company Sunfire, and immersion cooling technology specialists Submer

Based out of Switzerland and Germany, Sunfire uses industrial electrolysers to produce renewable hydrogen and syngas from renewable electricity, steam and captured CO2 which is then used to power energy-intensive companies in the chemical, fuel and steel industries.  

Submer, which has offices in Spain and the US, has developed immersion cooling technology for datacentres in order to reduce their CO2 footprint and water consumption.  

“Sunfire and Submer both achieved strong success in 2022 with multiple commercial milestones reached. We look forward to supporting these and future investments with their respective strong growth trajectories,” de Mévius said.

Impact methodology 

He explained that as an Article 9 fund, Planet First Partners applied rigorous methodology and supported the social and environmental objectives defined by the EU taxonomy. 

“Our processes have been verified by Bluemark to ensure compliance with the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation’s requirements for Article 9 funds,” he said.  

According to de Mévius, the team assessed the conditions for each company to both deliver a substantial contribution to one of the social and environmental objectives and do-no-significant-harm to any of the other objectives.  

“Our post-investment value creation process includes a sustainability management plan that incorporates the methodology and KPIs relevant for each company, covering EU Taxonomy elements and other ESG relevant dimensions,” he added.  

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