Are you looking for funding sources for cleantech companies?
There are many funding sources for cleantech companies now available to help you on your journey. This could be pre-seed, seed, Series A or B funding.
The article below gives information about the funding climate in general and a list of sources. You can also find a very comprehensive list of over 160 investors on the Climate 50 site.
Microsoft and Amazon encourage confidence in the sector
When large corporates like Amazon and Microsoft announced available funds to make the planet greener it was seen as encouraging news for the cleantech sector. This is the view of Shayle Kann, Managing Director of Energy Impact Partners and Abe Yokell, managing partner and co-founder of Congruent Ventures. They discussed how the sector is faring since the pandemic in a recent Interchange podcast.
Then in January 2021 Bill Gates raised £1 billion for cleantech startups through his cleantech venture capital fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures. The fund will be used for “tougher climate challenges” in greener steel and cement, long-haul transport, direct air capture and hydrogen.
Deals bounce back since July 2020
Deals have bounced back since the first lockdown. Crowdfunding platforms like Seedrs which allow people to become investors in smaller, innovative companies with positive environmental aims may have helped things. Investors on these platforms regularly cite social, economic and environmental reasons to invest. Companies that have achieved an exit have used a range of funds including crowdfunding to obtain funding.
Smart investment firms are putting the planet at the heart of their strategies
According to The Daily Telegraph, smart investment firms are putting the planet at the heart of their strategies. At least 22 per cent of the UK asset management industry is now sustainably invested, according to a 2019 government report.
Despite its current economic woes, the UK has become more attractive to renewable energy investors according to EY’s latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index. Greg Jackson, CEO at unicorn startup Octopus Energy, has said that “The energy market is worth $2 trillion, excluding petrol, diesel and oil. As we decarbonise transport, that’ll become a $4 trillion market. This is the biggest thing since the internet – and it might be bigger than that.”
Having previously warned that companies will “go bankrupt” if they don’t work towards net zero, Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of England. has stated that the transition to carbon neutrality represents “the greatest commercial opportunity of our time.” Indeed the economic value of implementing the SDGs could represent $12 trillion and create 400 million jobs.
There is also growing interest in ESGs which rose after Larry Fink, CEO of the world’s largest asset management company BlackRock announced that “sustainability- and climate-integrated portfolios can provide better risk-adjusted returns to investors.” Larry has recently written a letter to CEOs stating that January from November 2020, investors in mutual funds and ETFs invested $288 billion globally in sustainable assets, a 96% increase over the whole of 2019.
Given the above, it is great to know that a range of funding sources for cleantech companies is available. These include large corporate funds to NGOs as well as investor panel pitching opportunities and accelerator programmes. The latter often result in the organisers making funding available to a select number of participants. There is also a list of funds, including government help in response to the coronavirus on the Oxfordshire Greentech website.
List of funding sources for your cleantech company
|Name of fund/accelerator||Details|
|ISCF Future Plastic Packaging Solutions||UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £2 million for early-stage projects in smart and sustainable plastic packaging. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Deadline 20th January 2021, 11am.|
|Norsken Foundation||VC fund backing companies that, if successful, will become impact unicorns – massively profitable businesses that make a serious dent in the world – positively affecting 1 billion people.|
|Grantham Institute – The Greenhouse||12-month innovation programme for climate positive technology startups that offers early-stage (“pre-seed”) entrepreneurs access to business coaching with experienced professionals, a range of masterclasses, free workspace in London and £40,000 in equity-free grant funding.|
|Greenbackers Investment Capital||Pitch opportunities taking place in November and May to Greenbackers wide network of sustainable investors. The pitch is open to all entrepreneurs from any geography seeking Seed Stage, Series A or Series B Funding. Pre-Seed companies will not be considered. Greenbackers also provide dedicated support for cleantech startups, including coaching, ongoing promotion of pitches, curated outreach and data room support.|
|Faraday Business Challenge: Innovation Feasibility Studies, Round 4
|UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £10 million in grant funding for innovation in electric vehicle battery technology. Deadline: 9th December 2020, 11am.|
|Horizon 2020 Green Deal||This call will be opening in mid-September and will close at the end of January 2021. Projects are expected to deliver tangible and visible results relatively quickly and show how R&D initiatives can help meet the Green Deal main priorities.|
|Amazon Climate Pledge Fund||Companies of all sizes and stages will be considered, from pre-product startups to well-established enterprises looking to scale.|
|Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund||Criteria for receiving funding is impact, underfunded markets, shared alignment relevant to Microsoft’s core business and climate equity.|
|Ethex||The Ethex platform helps raise finance for impact lead companies. The average amount raised is £500 – 700,000 and aims to help cleantech companies find investors who will reinvest.|
|Phaze Ventures||The SparkLabs Programme is run in partnership with Petroleum Development Oman The VC invests at the seed and Series A stage, with investments worth around $100,000 to $500,000 per company.|
|Greentech South Low Carbon Solent Project||Grants of up to £25,000, postgraduate student projects, and innovation support and networking events.|
|Carbon13||Accelerator programme with a potential £75k of funding for cleantech startups that have the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 8 million tonnes per annum.|
|Bethnal Green Ventures||Potential £30k of funding in the accelerator programme.|
|Zero Carbon Capital||VC funding for pre-seed and seed funding for companies meeting the predefined criteria.|
|The Oil and Gas Technology Centre||The Net Zero R&D Programme sets out to help accelerate net zero technology development through funded collaboration with Scottish universities. The call is for direct air carbon capture or direct seawater carbon capture technologies. Successful applicants can secure 50% of the total project cost (up to £100k of funding) to support the academic R&D required to accelerate your technology development. Deadline 4th December.|
|Social Nest||Raise X accelerator programme connecting startups to investors, deadline is 14th September.|
|Shaper Impact Capital||Organisation connecting curated social impact investors, angels, and impact funds with curated social impact startups and social enterprises that are looking to further their impact.|
|Women in Innovation Awards||10 Women in Innovation Awards organised by Innovate UK. Deadline 14th October.|
|Innovate UK Smart Grants||Opportunity to apply for a share of up to £25 million to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations that can make a significant impact on the UK economy.|
|Tech-Valley||Access to funding in China and Chinese opportunities in cleantech.|
|Positive Energy||A funding platform that connects companies with financiers seeking to fund small to mid size renewable energy projects.|
|Earthshot Prize||Over 100 nominating partners from across the world are being invited by Prince William and Catherine to submit nominations of those individuals, communities, businesses and organisations who could win The Earthshot Prize of £1 million.|
|Cyan Finance||Evergreen family office supporting cleantech and sustainability startups. Cyan Finance also provides advanced financing to plug gaps between current status and expected funding.|
|Choose Paris Region accelerator programmes||Renewable Energy|
For UK government funding for cleantech and sustainability startups, check out the UKRI portal.
Want to learn from sector winners who have reached funding goals, met milestones and achieved an exit?