Greensphere launches £150m nature-based VC fund

The new fund will invest in spinouts from UK institutions that help mitigate climate change and biodiversity loss.

British manager Greensphere Capital has begun raising a £150 million (€172 million; £188 million) venture capital fund to invest in natured-based solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss, according to a press release.

Greensphere was founded in 2011 by Divya Seshamani, previously of TPG and GIC, and former Alchemy Partners managing partner Jon Moulton. In 2012, it became the first fund manager to receive a mandate from the then UK Government-backed Green Investment Bank.

Over the last decade Greensphere has pursued an ‘engineered climate solutions’ strategy, for which it has raised three funds. The most recent was raised in 2019 and invests in growth-stage industrial solutions in renewable energy, agriculture and forestry on a buy-to-hold basis, according to the firm’s website. In total, the firm has £200 million in assets under management and advisement.

The new nature based strategy, called Gaia Sciences Innovation, has seen the firm partner with environmental science institutes across the UK, with a particular focus on London, York and Norwich. It will invest in spinouts from these institutions that are commercially proven, but that need to be scaled.

The fund will focus on three areas:

  • Greening real assets: this involves making agriculture more sustainable and enhancing ecosystems.
  • Green fintech: products that can help scale green financial markets, such as biodiversity measurement tools and environmental DNA sequencing.
  • Human supply chain resilience: this includes climate-resilient food crops and alternatives to products that drive deforestation such as meat and dairy.

“Britain is home to many of the world’s best bio and environmental science researchers, but the commercial potential in their breakthroughs is too often being overlooked,” said Seshamani. “We want to unlock a pipeline of exciting ventures that are based on brilliant ideas, that operate with scientific integrity, that are grounded in a contextual understanding of the complex natural systems and are alert to the risks of unforeseen consequences.”