UK’s Sky Group to anchor new €116.5M fund powered by Founders Factory to back planet-positive tech

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UK-based Sky Group announced on Monday that it is anchoring a new £100M (approximately €116.57M) ‘operator-first’ venture capital fund called  Planet Fund. Powered by London-based Founders Factory, the fund will back early-stage entrepreneurs launching planet-positive technologies.

Planet Fund, which aims to close the funding gap for seed-stage climate firms, provides entrepreneurs with Founders Factory’s holistic approach to company formation, including high-conviction money, execution assistance, and an unrivalled network. 

The new fund will focus on broad sustainability topics such as decarbonisation, resource preservation, climate resilience, and the circular economy.

Founders Factory’s CEO, Henry Lane Fox, says, “We felt compelled to build this fund both by the urgency of the problem and the scale of the opportunity. 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 & hands-on support to the next generation of ambitious planet-focused companies. We’re excited to have Sky, one of Europe’s leading voices on climate, as our first partner.”

Who has supported this round?

Sky will support Planet Fund, building on decades of its environmental initiatives, including Sky Zero, the company’s continuous net zero commitment. Sky Ocean Ventures, and the 25 firms it has invested in since its founding in 2018, will be merged into the Planet Fund, which will include revenues from the sale of paper bottle manufacturer Choose Packaging to Hewlett Packard.

Planet Fund will be led by Henry Lane Fox, CEO of Founders Factory, Partner at firstminute capital and Chairman of Creator Fund, and Jamie Rowles, former Head of Investments at Sky Ocean Ventures,  alongside Chief Impact Officer Micol Chiesa, formerly Head of Impact at Five Seasons Ventures, and Camilla Mazzolini, ClimateTech investor, formerly at firstminute capital. They will be supported by Founders Factory’s 100+ global operators.

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Planet Fund has already assembled an advisory board that includes Chairman Sir Ian Cheshire, eminent climate scientists Professor Richard Templer and Professor Cameron Hepburn, and Founders Factory Executive Chairman Brent Hoberman CBE. A group of venture partners and advisers from climate technology firms such as Ovo Energy, Mindful Chef, and Zero Avia will assist the investment team.

Debbie Klein, Group Chief Marketing, Corporate Affairs and People Officer, says, “We are delighted to partner with the Founders Factory who are the perfect fit to take forward our work investing in businesses that will accelerate climate technologies and deliver a cleaner, safer future and more sustainable behaviours. We look forward to the impact that this new fund will have for early-stage climate tech entrepreneurs.”

About Founders Factory

Founders Factory, a firm that claims to be the world’s leading accelerator and venture studio, builds and scales technology startups solving global problems. To date, it has raised over $175M in funding.

Founded in 2015 by Brent Hoberman, Henry Lane Fox and George Northcott, Founders Factory combines capital and bespoke support from a team of over 100 specialists with a broad network of corporates and established entrepreneurs. It was born out of the entrepreneur network, Founders Forum, which launched the Founders Pledge Climate Fund and Founders Forum Climate Tech amongst other things.

Founders Factory has backed and built almost 300 tech companies globally, 50+ of which have been built from scratch in its Venture Studio. The company’s partners include Aviva, L’Oreal, Guardian Media Group, easyJet, Reckitt, Johnson & Johnson Innovation DC, Nesta, and Standard Bank. It has operating hubs in London, Johannsburg, New York, and Miami.

Founders Factory already has a number of active sustainability investment programmes, including the Mission Studio with the UK government agency, Nesta, in the UK and G-Force in Eastern Europe.

The company’s climate tech focus has grown in recent years, with the launch of G-Force, a pre-seed investment programme for climate startups, a partnership with social innovation agency Nesta to create new ventures tackling household carbon emissions, and the recent announcement of the Blue Action Lab, an ocean technology programme.

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Vishal Singh

Vishal Singh is a News Reporter and Social Media Marketing Lead at Silicon Canals. He covers developments in the European startup ecosystem and oversees the publication's social media presence. Before joining Silicon Canals, Vishal gained experience at the Indian digital media outlet Inc42, contributing to its growth with insightful content. Despite being a college dropout, his passion for writing has driven his career in journalism.

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