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Sweden’s Norrsken achieves €320m close for oversubscribed second impact fund

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Published: 17 May 2024

The fund secured investment from almost 50 investors and plans to fund 30 impact startups in areas such as climate tech, energy, biotech AI and health tech. 

Norrsken VC aims to invest in impact unicorns that can rapidly scale up into companies that improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people | Team photo of Norrsken VC

Norrsken VC, a Stockholm-based venture capital impact investor, said strong demand for its oversubscribed second fund, which raised €320m, showed it was possible to build a fund by investing to achieve both impact and attractive returns.

The Norrsken VC II fund, which was originally targeting a €250m close, attracted investment from almost 50 limited partners. Norrsken said the €320m total fund size made the fund the largest early-stage generalist impact fund in Europe.

Institutional investors in the fund include Swedish insurer Folksam, Swedish national pension fund manager AP1, Germany’s KfW Capital, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and the European Investment Fund (EIF). Among others to invest are Credit Suisse (now part of UBS), Investcorp-Tages, BMW, SEB-Stiftelsen and Nordea.

The fund aims to invest in more than 30 early-stage companies with the potential to develop into “impact unicorns” – defined by the investor as fast-growing companies that positively affect over 1bn lives – with a focus on climate tech, energy, biotech AI and health tech.

It is classified as an Article 9 fund under the EU’s Sustainable Financial Disclosures (SFDR) regulation, which means it must have clear environmental and/or social impact objectives.

The new fund builds on the success of Norrsken VC’s first fund, which was an early investor in successful companies such as Swedish battery developer Northvolt, Swedish autonomous electric truck firm Einride and Hamburg-based climate tech company 1KOMMA5°.

Norrsken VC said it had invested in more than 50 companies so far. Early investments from the second fund include cloud computing firm evroc, clean energy solutions provider Granular Energy, UK solar panel subscription service Sunsave, and UK-based low-carbon cement firm Material Evolution.

The impact investor was born out of the Norrsken Foundation, a non-profit impact organisation set up to support the impact ecosystem, which was founded in 2016 by Niklas Adalberth, a founder of online payments service Klarna. Impact Investor profiled the foundation in 2021. 

Adalberth, who is also one of four general partners at Norrsken VC, said the investor’s “long-term vision is to see every dollar invested globally as a net positive for people and planet”.

Seeking European opportunities

David Frykman, another general partner, said strong interest in the new fund validated the belief in the impact plus return model Norrsken helped establish in Sweden. He said that the new fund would “double-down” on the Swedish market, while also looking across Europe for opportunities.

“We’re looking for disruptors tackling climate change through innovative energy solutions, alongside advancements in health, responsible AI, and adaptation strategies,” he said.

The EIF was also an investor in the first Norrsken impact venture fund, which closed at €125m in 2021. This time the EIF investment is supported by the InvestEU programme. 

Marjut Falkstedt, EIF’s chief executive, said the EU institution’s support for the latest fund aligned with the EIF priority of making sure that impactful European businesses had access to the finance they need. “Norrsken VC’s impact investing is a great asset in the European VC landscape,” she said.

Norrsken 22, a separate Africa-focused venture capital firm with roots in the Norrsken Foundation stable, said in November that its debut African Tech Growth Fund, had also been oversubscribed in achieving a final close of $205m (€188m).

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