As Clean Growth Fund celebrates its second birthday, Beverley Gower-Jones, our Managing Partner, considers what’s been achieved and what the next 12 months is likely to bring.
It seems longer than two years when we launched CGF with investment from CCLA and BEIS and with the clear ambition to invest in the UK’s very best early-stage clean tech companies. Their cornerstone commitment to us was hugely valuable as we subsequently succeeded in securing additional investment and exceeded our goal of £100m, albeit by just £1m.
Our investors rank among the very best, and notably include Aviva and three local authority pension funds – Strathclyde, Merseyside and South Yorkshire. Through CGF, we have private and public money investing together in the country’s future growth; in my view this needs to be mirrored in other areas of the economy if the country is to best withstand the challenges ahead.
Whilst the world we live in has changed in recent months, it’s only six months since COP26 in Glasgow and the detrimental impacts of climate change have not slowed down. Investing in the clean-tech economy can only be a force for good – to help drive the economic recovery and to achieve our carbon reduction goals.
Like any Venture Capital fund, Return on Investment is the key metric for CGF but what sets us apart from other VCs is the importance that we place on the carbon reduction potential of our investments. Our investment thesis is based on selecting and investing in top performing companies with the ability to significantly reduce carbon emissions; in this way, when we back teams for commercial out-performance we are also ensuring the greatest possible carbon emissions reductions from their technologies.
We have invested in seven companies to date, and we intend to double the size of our portfolio over the next 12 months. We also intend to make follow-on investments in the strongest performers in our portfolio. Our new investments will continue to be both seed and Series A.
It means that CGF’s team will be busy: supporting our investment portfolio, scouting for potential investment targets and contributing to the growth and well-being of the UK clean-tech tech sector.
My ever-expanding team is hugely experienced and they are keen to share their knowledge with entrepreneurs and investors alike; that’s one of the reasons why you may have seen us at COP26, at the CleanTech Group Forum Live in Edinburgh, at All-Energy in Glasgow and numerous clean-tech webinars/seminars. I do believe that CGF needs to be out and about to see and hear what UK cleantech is doing so that we can continue to back best in class technologies and teams.
I am genuinely excited by the amazing, innovative work that is happening up and down the country and I am determined that CGF will continue to play an important role in funding and commercialising the very best.