Blue Earth Capital, the impact firm incubated by Partners Group, has made a carbon capture deal from its climate fund alongside corporates such as Amazon, Microsoft and Samsung.
The firm has led an $80 million funding round into CarbonCure Technologies, a carbon capture and utilisation company for concrete manufacturing. Other participants include strategic corporates such as Microsoft (via its $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund), Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund – both of which had previously invested in the company – Samsung C&T’s venture capital arm and BH3 Growth Equity. VC firms such as Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Taronga Ventures and 2150 also participated.
The deal comes from Blue Earth’s Climate Growth Fund, which launched in April 2021 with a $300 million target. Investors include the Wietlisbach Foundation, the personal wealth of Partners Group and Blue Earth co-founder Urs Wietlisbach, which committed $50 million, and HAEK, a German pension fund for healthcare workers.
CarbonCure is the fifth investment from Blue Earth’s Climate Growth Fund. “We look to support… proven and tested technology, clear commercial market adoption with a path to scale and measurable impact,” Kayode Akinola, head of private equity at Blue Earth, told NPM. Akinola, a former director at KKR, joined Blue Earth in 2021.
CarbonCure’s Series F funding round is a sign that carbon capture technology – a popular theme among climate funds – is scaling out of the venture stage. “We no longer see CarbonCure as a classic start-up, but as a growth company,” said Akinola. “It has proven its core product technology [and] has clear market adoption by its target customer base.”
For major technology companies such as Microsoft and Amazon, scaling the technology is a strategic endeavour. “Solutions like CarbonCure… help us meet our goal to be carbon negative by 2030,” Brandon Middaugh, a director of Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund, said in a 2020 press release when Microsoft first invested in CarbonCure. Amazon’s investment “will help [it meet its] commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040”, Amazon sustainability vice-president Kara Hurst said in the same release – adding that the retail giant planned to use CarbonCure’s concrete in its corporate buildings.
The opportunity top partner with strategic corporates was a draw for Blue Earth. “We have invested with Microsoft and Amazon in other transactions in the past and see real value in combining both financial investors and strategic partners to support growth companies in the climate space,” said Akinola. “We also look to mobilise complimentary value propositions… and aim to help catalyse investments from new partners particularly in investments we lead – so, for example… both Samsung Ventures and BH3 Growth Equity joined as new investors.”
The company generates carbon credits to sell in the voluntary carbon market. It uses verification company Verra for these credits.