Contrarian Ventures targets €100m as climate investing stays hot

Contrarian's LPs include Korys Investments, Molten Ventures and the Grantham Foundation.

Contrarian Ventures, a European seed-stage climate tech venture firm, is seeking to raise €100 million for its second fund. The fund “has already completed a significant first closing,” the firm said in a statement sent to affiliate title Venture Capital Journal.

Climate technology investors have been on a fundraising tear this year:

  • World Fund told Venture Capital Journal in June that it secured an undisclosed commitment from PwC Germany, and the Berlin-based firm aims to close on a €350 million climate-focused fund by the beginning of next year.
  • Fifth Wall, a Los Angeles proptech investor, raised $500 million for its inaugural climate fund in July.
  • Buoyant Ventures of Chicago closed on more than $50 million toward a $100 million climate fund in August.
  • And Union Square Ventures of New York is raising $200 million for its second climate fund, USV Climate 2022, according to the Oregon State Treasury, which committed $20 million.

Contrarian Ventures was an early entrant in the climate tech space. The firm was launched in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 2017 by Rokas Peciulaitis, a former trader at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He was later joined by Tomas Kemtys, a former M&A banker at Centerview Partners in London.

Contrarian raised $13.6 million for its debut fund in 2017. That fund has invested in 21 companies, three of which have exited, and has co-invested with more than 100 investors. Its LPs include Korys Investments, Molten Ventures and the Grantham Foundation.

“Contrarian’s first fund is currently performing at the top decile among its 2017 counterparts with four ‘soonicorns’ (companies with valuations of €100 million-plus, which are seen as being on a path toward unicorn valuation),” it said in the statement.

“Climate tech is going to be one of the most lucrative and important investment opportunities for the next 30 years but entrepreneurs in Europe are still heavily underfunded and underrepresented at seed stage,” Peciulaitis pointed out in the statement. “That’s why we’re launching today’s fund with the aim of closing this funding gap for future climate-tech founders and mobilising the resources needed for climate action, while continuing to build a firm that becomes the top choice for climate tech entrepreneurs.”

Additional reporting by Lawrence Aragon.