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iStock 1040872968
iStock 1040872968

Planet A Ventures raises €160m to back founders tackling the world‘s largest environmental problems

  • Germany-based VC Planet A Ventures closes its first fund for its novel science-based approach to venture capital, giving science veto power in investment decisions if there is no significant positive impact
  • Investors include BMW, KfW Capital, REWE, the Danish state’s investment fund, Vaekstfonden/EIFO, and renowned serial entrepreneurs such as Rolf Schrömgens (Trivago), Maximilian Backhaus (HelloFresh) and Rubin Ritter (Zalando)
  • Planet A has invested in 14 early-stage green-tech startups to date
  • With the closing of its fund, Planet A wants to consolidate its position as the leading scientific green-tech VC in Europe

Unlocking a new approach to impact investing: Planet A Ventures closes its first fund supporting European green-tech startups that have a positive impact on our planet. Planet A has anchored science into its investment process to identify the companies that will help us reach net-zero targets. The green-tech fund is the first European venture capital firm with an in-house science team that conducts life cycle assessments as part of its due diligence. Besides strong and scalable business models, investments are selected based on the significance of the technology’s positive impact.

Planet A was founded by the investors and business angels Tobias Seikel and Nick de la Forge, serial entrepreneurs Fridtjof Detzner and Christian Schad, and Christoph Gras, who previously co-founded the Tomorrow Bank, as well as Lena Thiede, who brings 20 years of experience in climate and biodiversity research and policy. The fund`s mission is to contribute to an economy within the planetary boundaries by helping scale innovative technologies faster and supporting a science-based approach to venture capital.

“Green-tech and impact investing is no longer a niche in venture capital. But in order to scale solutions fast enough, we need to ask ourselves what impact our investments really have on the planet. There are scientific methods and enough data to do that, we just need to use them to empower founders that make a difference. That’s exactly what we do at Planet A.” explains Fridtjof Detzner, Founding Partner at Planet A.

Planet A’s approach convinced a unique group of mission-aligned investors across multiple industries,  including industry leaders such as BMW, KfW Capital (one of the world’s largest development banks), REWE (one of the largest German retailers), the Danish state’s investment fund Vaekstfonden/EIFO and renowned serial entrepreneurs such as Rolf Schrömgens (Trivago), Maximilian Backhaus (HelloFresh) and Rubin Ritter (Zalando).

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“We are witnessing a fundamental shift in regulation and capital, creating new markets and enormous advantages for green-tech startups. Planet A’s scientific approach to identify and support such game-changing ventures is one of the most convincing we have seen so far in the market,” Frank Niederländer, member of the BMW Foundation Board, explains their investment in Planet A.

The in-house science team considers all resources, material flows, and emissions of a product or service – from the extraction of raw materials to production, transport, use, and end of life – to quantify its net positive impact. Founders benefit from the assessments as an external validation, helping them attract customers, talent, and funding while scaling their impact further.

“Many funds look at CO2 emissions only. We go beyond climate mitigation and also look at biodiversity protection, resource savings, and waste reduction. Our scientific assessments allow us to understand how much better an innovation is compared to the status quo. This in turn enables us to identify the winners of the massive economic transformation that we are seeing,” states Founding Partner Lena Thiede.

Planet A supports early-stage European software as well as hardware startups across all sectors of the EU taxonomy: agriculture, forestry and food; construction and real estate; energy and heat; manufacturing; transport and mobility; water, waste and remediation. Initial ticket sizes range from €0.5-3M. The current portfolio includes companies such as Makersite, whose technology for supply chain decarbonisation is already being used by Microsoft and P&G; GA Drilling and their plasma drills to access supercritical geothermal energy; C1 and their ultra-efficient catalysis to mass-produce green methanol, saving gigatons of CO2 in the shipping and chemical industry; award-winning 44.01, whose carbon storage technology also convinced co-investors such as Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

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