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Planet First Partners moves towards €350m target

The European impact debutant – backed by a Belgian brewing family – has made three investments so far, including one this week in data centre energy efficiency company Submer.

Planet First Partners, a European growth investor focused on “a healthier life on a healthier planet” will soon hold a second close on €283 million for its debut fund as it moves towards a target of €350 million, a source with knowledge of the firm told New Private Markets. A final close at the target is expected in Q2 of this year, the source said.

Investors in the fund are predominantly family offices and sovereign wealth funds, the source added. Belgian state-owned financial services business Belfius is distributing the fund to its clients, according to a statement. Adrien Invest, an investment vehicle of the families of the AB Inbev brewing business, is also an investor, according to a previous announcement. Placement firm FirstAvenue has been brought on to support the fundraise, the source added. Planet First declined to comment on the fundraising progress or identities of investors. FirstAvenue did not respond to a request for comment.

The founders of Planet First are Frédéric de Mévius and Alexander de Wit. de Mévius, a member of the AB Inbev family, previously founded Verlinvest, another family-backed investment group, in 1995. Verlinvest has backed businesses such as Oatly, which makes plant-based milk alternatives, and Tony’s Chocolonely, a high-end chocolate brand with a mission to end slavery in the chocolate supply chain. de Mévius and de Wit worked together at Verlinvest.

Planet First Partners has already made two investments from Fund I and has a third deal warehoused, which will move into the fund after the second close. In October, the firm partnered with Lightrock to to lead a €109 million Series D funding round in Sunfire, a German business involved in the creation of green hydrogen. This week, Planet First invested in Barcelona-headquartered Submer, which has developed technology to increase energy efficiency in data centres. The warehoused deal is an investment in London-based Polymateria, which is developing an additive to allow plastic to biodegrade.

Planet First’s debut fund will predominantly invest directly into growth businesses but will also have a pocket for fund of fund investments. This allows the firm to access an ecosystem of emerging business that would otherwise be too small for it to back. It has committed capital to London-based early-stage investor EKA, according to the source. EKA did not respond to requests for comment.