Clementum Capital, a new investment fund to support European start-ups that reduce CO2 emissions

150 million euros. This is a package that Climentum Capital plans to put together by the end of the year to be able to invest in 25 climate technology start-ups in Europe, with starting tickets ranging from 1 to 5 million euros.

Target areas of activity? “Those with the greatest CO2 reduction potential”, answers Yoann Berno, one of the initiators of the project. These include next-generation renewable energy, food and agriculture, industry and manufacturing, buildings and architecture, transport and mobility, and waste and materials. Wide range.

No investment has yet been announced, but this Toulouse native nonetheless lists a few of the following projects: drones to improve forest management, wind turbine blade recycling, sustainable seafood production, data center energy efficiency, algae use. as a nutrient for fish…

Red wire? Technology. “As absolute techies, we believe that deep technology or hardware (disruptive or hardware innovation) can lead to radical positive change.”explains this former engineer who spent the beginning of his career in Silicon Valley… before realizing after a bad experience that he should dedicate his career to meaningful initiatives.

Firstly, financial, and secondly, the impact on the environment.

Thus, the goal of each investment will be to reduce CO2 emissions by at least one million tons per year. One way to respond to the criticism sometimes leveled against “green tech” is to position itself in the carbon offset market and ultimately sell pollution rights.

“We are one of the first venture capital funds in Europe with a dual model based on financial and environmental goals.”, says Yoann Berno. One of the partners, Dane Stefan Maard, as a specialist in the field, will measure the impact of each investment over the entire life cycle of the project in order to measure its real effects, direct and indirect.

Controversial challenge? What decisions should be made in the face of a start-up with strong environmental potential but a less promising economic model? “In order, first of all, finances, and secondly, influence,” Joann Berno immediately objects. “In the logic of scaling, the more important the first is, and the second is by you.” Clementum Capital aims for an annual investment return of over 20%.

Such positioning can draw different opinions, as the 35-year-old entrepreneur, who founded 3 startups, one of which is solar energy in Kenya, admitted. “But the challenge is that we must do our best, from sobriety to innovation. Just as software has eaten the world, we believe that climate technology will eat the world over the next ten years,” he continues, paraphrasing famous American investor Marc Andreessen.

Expansion of Climate Technologies

Current figures may confirm this. According to a report by Dealroom, a data aggregator for European startups, “climate tech” is the fastest growing finance sector in Europe, with investments rising from $1.1 billion in 2017 to $11 billion in 2021. will even exceed $1,500 billion by 2025 on a global scale, of which more than a third will go to the electrification of transport.

The momentum that causes the greed of investors. According to a recent PwC report, there were about 2,500 active users worldwide in mid-2021, compared to less than 1,600 a year earlier. France Invest, the French private equity professional association, has 92 investment funds in France in 2021.

Hardly a week goes by without a new launch being announced, like Kiko Ventures in London a few days ago. The emergence of a climate-related technology bubble, like the clean-tech bubble, fifteen years ago is worrisome.

A prospect that hardly bothers Joann Berno and his European associates (two Danes living in Copenhagen, a Swede living in Stockholm, and a German living like him in Berlin). “We will hit the climate wall at full speed if we do nothing by 2030. Both consumers and companies are becoming increasingly aware of this, and they will have to forcefully change their habits.”, he testifies. The name Clementum, the contradiction of Climate and Impulse (translated as “climatic impulse”), should remind us.