The European Investment Fund is pumping €50 million into World Fund, a climate tech investment firm.
World Fund, which was created last year and is led by tech company Ecosia, invests in start-ups building technologies that are focused on reducing emissions and generating more sustainable businesses.
The firm declined to comment on how much it has now raised for the fund to date but it is expected to close the fund in 2023. Last year the fund said it would be €350 million.
The EIF has committed to ensuring that 25% of its investments are in climate projects by 2024. Its investment in World Fund is supported by InvestEU, the EU’s sustainability and innovation investment program. PwC Germany and the UK Environment Agency’s pension fund have also invested in World Fund.
World Fund’s stated goal is to invest in companies that have the potential save at least 100 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year.
It vets its investments on a criteria that it created called the climate performance potential (CPP) assessment, which measures a start-up’s ability to meet these goals and to avoid companies that are greenwashing or over-promising on their capabilities.
It invests at various stages including seed, Series A and Series B. Its investments cover a wide berth from food start-ups like Planet A Foods, which is making plant-based food, to quantum computing company IQM.
World Fund was founded by Tim Schumacher, Daria Saharova, Craig Douglas, and Danijel Višević.
“We see this landmark investment – one of the largest EIF has made in a first-time VC fund – as a strong signal that the European Union is serious about tackling the climate crisis. It will help us continue our mission to back the founders that will deliver decarbonization at scale,” Višević said.
The fund has also raised capital from EIF-linked organizations the Dutch Future Fund in the Netherlands and ERP Special Fund and Bavaria’s LfA in Germany, which stipulates that World Fund must invest some of its capital in these countries.
“The climate tech VC market in Europe is in its infancy, and World Fund stands out as a fund with a strong track record, network, investment hypothesis and experience, as well as scientific and commercial expertise within its founding team,” EIF chief executive Alain Godard added.
“These factors, alongside World Fund’s climate performance potential measurement criteria, have convinced us to back their first fund, with the support of the European Commission and we look forward to supporting the next generation of high-growth climate start-ups across the continent,” he said.
Other investors in World Fund include Ecosia, Trivago founder Rolf Schrömgens and German soccer player Mario Götze.
European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni added that InvestEU and the EIF’s backing of World Fund will ensure the creation of more sustainable jobs in Europe.
“This agreement is an excellent example of how the program will help us achieve our green objectives through supporting innovative technology start-ups. I am pleased to see InvestEU helping entrepreneurs across Europe unlock funds that will enable them to achieve their full potential,” he said.