London-based Kiko Ventures, launched by IP Group that claims to be the world’s first evergreen cleantech VC, announced on Wednesday that it has raised £375M (approximately €436.65M) to back ‘transformative cleantech startups’.
The development comes as global investment in cleantech reached an all-time high of $40B in 2021 and events in 2022 further increased the momentum for sustainable technologies.
However, there are structural constraints on the existing funding landscape. The ecosystem is unable to adapt in a way that best addresses the climate problem.
Kiko Ventures’ founding partner Arne Morteani says, “The climate crisis is the greatest challenge of our generation and from that challenge come new and life-changing possibilities for a regenerative world. With Kiko Ventures, we are now adding a new approach to providing flexible, regenerative capital to address some of the most difficult challenges. We strive to be an investor that is fit for purpose as well as profit.”
About Kiko Ventures and fund utilisation
Kiko Ventures was launched by London-based investment firm IP Group, which is listed on the FTSE 250. The VC was created with the aim to promote and build the category-leading climate tech champions of the future. The platform’s goal is to enrich the existing ecosystem and become a reliable partner, to both entrepreneurs and fellow investors, in building a regenerative future.
The team plans to invest £200M over the next five years using IP Group’s flexible capital platform. Kiko Ventures will launch with existing assets, valued at over £175M, as well as a number of new investments already made under the Kiko strategy that are yet to be announced.
IP Group’s cleantech team led by Robert Trezona and Jamie Vollbracht, and new Partner Arne Morteani, who spent 14 years assisting in the development of one of Europe’s top cleantech VC funds, are the founding partners of Kiko Ventures. The VC says that the whole team has devoted their professional lives to climate technology and the three partners have successfully invested during two economic cycles as investors in the space.
In contrast to the industry norms of short time horizons, set financial limits, and specific mandates, the team has created Kiko Ventures to utilise IP Group’s platform to adopt a more flexible approach.
Founding Partner Robert Trezona says, “I believe in the transformative power of climate technologies and have worked my whole career to elevate ideas from the lab into practically usable solutions that can make our world a better place. We’ve launched Kiko to unleash the full power of human ingenuity by uniting ideas, expertise and capital to unlock a sustainable future. To do this, we’ve created an investment model of truly flexible capital that empowers change, rather than hindering it.”
Kiko Ventures says it can be a very adaptable investor because it is an evergreen platform without a set 10-year investment mandate. It can be entrepreneurial through venture creation of new companies, invest at Seed and Series A/B stage, or choose to capitalise on opportunities in the public capital markets. Besides, the team has global experience in operating across all these stages.
In a statement, Kiko Ventures says that it will primarily invest directly, and on occasion indirectly, through selected funds. It will combine this structural flexibility with a focus on thematic areas where it can build deep expertise and value.
An experienced team
The team at Kiko Ventures have already made investments in high-conviction areas. Examples include fuel cell firm Ceres Power, which the team helped to take to unicorn exit; First Light Fusion, which recently achieved a world’s first fusion result; and Oxbotica, a pioneer in autonomous mobility software supplying some of the world’s largest companies like BP and ZF.
The VC says that for over 20 years, the team has actively supported creative enterprises during challenging economic times, including the first cleantech boom and recession and the Covid-19 epidemic. Moreover, most of the team started out with successful research careers in climate tech and so combine commercial experience with an understanding of the deep technologies behind many transformative innovations.
Kiko Ventures offers a global reach through the IP Group and a network of high-level connections in board rooms and labs. The team maintains regular contact with a number of the world’s top scientists, businesspeople, and representatives from the capital markets. To operate at scale and make an impact, it possesses the network, the experience, and the evergreen capital.
Founding Partner Jamie Vollbracht adds, “My realisation about the urgency of the climate crisis came shortly after leaving University and I decided to devote my career to doing what I could to help. I found I was most useful in commercialising innovative clean technologies and have sought to develop better ways to help those technologies flourish ever since. Kiko brings together all the insight I’ve been fortunate to glean over the past two decades and I hope it will make an outsized positive impact on the journey to a sustainable future.”