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Partners Group co-founder pushes impact fund to first close

Blue Earth Capital’s climate growth strategy is backed by Partners Group co-founder Urs Wietlisbach and Union Bancaire Privée.

Urs Wietlisbach, co-founder of Partners Group and Blue Earth Capital

Blue Earth Capital, the impact investment firm built by Swiss private equity firm Partners Group’s co-founders, has reached a first close for its Climate Growth Fund at $100 million.

Swiss bank Union Bancaire Privée and Urs Wietlisbach, co-founder and board chairman of Blue Earth, have each invested $50 million. The Climate Growth Fund is targeting $300 million and was launched in April 2021 with a $50 million anchor investment from Wietlisbach’s charitable foundation. UBP will also market the fund to its investor clients within its private markets group. “We believe this investment opportunity will be of significant benefit to our clients looking for climate-related solutions,” said Nicolas Faller, co-CEO of asset management at UBP.

The fund seeks “market rate returns”, Kayode Akinola, Blue Earth Capital’s head of private equity direct investments, told New Private Markets at the fund’s launch. The fund plans to make between 10 and 15 growth equity investments in the energy transition, climate intelligence, sustainable cities, sustainable agriculture and closed loop manufacturing. It invested in vertical farming company 80 Acres Farms alongside General Atlantic and General Atlantic’s climate impact strategy BeyondNetZero.

Wietlisbach, a co-founder of Partners Group, co-founded Blue Earth (previously known as PG Impact Investments) in 2015 with Alfred Gantner, another Partners Group co-founder, and Peter Wuffli, former chairman of Partners Group. The firm’s CEO, Urs Baumann, has announced his intention to step down in May this year.