Clean Growth Fund joined other leading cleantech accelerators and investors in the UK with combined funds of over £6 billion in founding a coalition to help inform and shape a new initiative, called Cleantech for UK. This initiative, which aims to pave the way for a new generation of global cleantech champions in the UK, is supported by Breakthrough Energy and organised by Cleantech Group.
The participants were joined by Bill Gates and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for the launch event at Imperial College in London, where they discussed how to create the next generation of global cleantech champions in the UK.
“The UK has all the ingredients to become a major player in the global push to build our net-zero emissions future, including world-class research facilities and forward-looking investors. I am confident that the Cleantech for UK coalition will become a key bridge between cleantech investors, innovators and policy makers,” said Ann Mettler, Vice President for Europe at Breakthrough Energy.
UK cleantech venture capital investment was £3.2 billion in 2022, equalling the record-breaking amounts of 2021. This is especially remarkable in a cooling global venture capital climate. But as other countries enact increasingly ambitious climate packages such as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the USA, and the Net Zero Industry Act in the EU, the UK must go further and faster to maintain competitiveness. The UK would have to spend a total of £36bn to reach the GDP equivalent of the IRA.
Beverley Gower-Jones OBE, Managing Partner of Clean Growth Fund said: “The UK is well positioned to support the country’s climate tech entrepreneurs, but if the UK is to have any chance of successfully winning a slice of the 4th industrial revolution – the cleantech revolution, we need do more. We need a higher degree of collaboration across finance, industry and government, as well a significant ramp up of venture capital investment into early-stage clean tech and “first of a kind demonstrator projects”. Clean Growth Fund is therefore delighted to support the Cleantech for UK coalition and work with Cleantech Group, Breakthrough Energy and our fellow coalition partners to accelerate the growth of the sector in this country.”
The Cleantech for UK coalition’s objective is to supercharge UK cleantech innovation. The UK is home to excellent scientific research and a thriving innovation scene. But this world-leading capability is not consistently translated into world-leading cleantech scale-ups.
“To secure the enormous benefits on offer to those brave enough to lead the transformation of our industrialised economies to cleaner, decarbonised and resource-efficient versions of themselves will require innovation in all facets,” said Richard Youngman, CEO, Cleantech Group. “Yes, technological, but equally in financial instruments and in policy-making. I believe a period of intense dialogue, experimentation and hyper-collaboration is needed for the UK to deliver on its net zero goals, its economic growth ambitions, and its national security.”
The other founding members of the coalition are: Imperial College London’s cleantech accelerator Undaunted, Kiko Ventures (cleantech venture capital investor), Breakthrough Energy Ventures (cleantech venture capital investor), Just Climate (climate-led investor) and Legal & General Capital (alternative asset platform). The work of the coalition will be facilitated by Cleantech for UK.
Cleantech for UK is a new initiative to establish a dialogue between the UK’s policy-making community and those living the reality of creating, incubating, investing in and scaling cleantech companies. Cleantech for UK is powered by Cleantech Group and supported by Breakthrough Energy. Similar programmes in continental Europe include Cleantech for Europe, Cleantech for France, Tech for Net Zero Allianz, Cleantech for Nordics and Cleantech for Baltics.