SWEN’s Blue Ocean Fund reels in a further €38m

SWEN's ocean impact fund has exceeded its targeted €120m and is anticipating 'at least another €20m' ahead of its December final close.

European impact investor SWEN Capital Partners has raised a further €38 million for its Blue Ocean Fund from international institutional investors.

Launched last year, Blue Ocean Fund aims to achieve above market rate returns by investing in technology solutions that tackle three threats affecting ocean health: over-fishing, pollution and climate change.

SWEN’s focus will be to mitigate these threats by alleviating the pressure on the world’s oceans, as opposed to restoring marine biodiversity. It will invest in areas such as sustainable aquaculture, ocean data, plant and cell-based seafood, alternatives to single-use plastic, renewable marine energies and decarbonisation of maritime transport.

With the latest wave of funding, Blue Ocean Fund now sits at €150 million, exceeding its targeted €120 million.

The vehicle’s final closing is planned for December, by which time SWEN expects to receive “at least another €20 million in commitments”, Olivier Raybaud, managing director of the SWEN Blue Ocean Fund, told New Private Markets.

“There has been a lot of momentum over the last year around ocean impact investing, driven by advancement in ocean technology and the creation of ocean impact frameworks.”

SWEN is a founding member of the 1000 Ocean Start-ups Coalition that in June developed the Ocean Impact Navigator, an open-source impact KPI framework designed to simplify impact measurement and reporting within the ocean impact ecosystem.

It is thought that these frameworks will help ocean impact investing gain traction among mainstream investors.

Raybaud said: “This is the first framework that has been established by venture capital players in the space with an agreed upon set of impact KPIs dedicated specially to ocean regeneration… I strongly expect it will help investors to understand better what we are investing in and what the real impact of those investments will be.”

Blue Ocean Fund has so far received commitments from “several large international investors” ranging from pension funds to insurance companies, banks and family offices. Among them are insurance firms MACIF, MAIF, the banking group Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, the French sovereign investment fund Bpifrance, Builders Vision, Ferd, the Planet Ocean Fund and oceanographic institute Ifremer.

The vehicle has already invested in eight start-ups, with the aim to finance 20-25 in total. “We will invest mainly in Series A with a ticket size between €1 million and €6 million. We plan to keep aside more than half of our investment capacity so we can re-invest in rounds, concentrated on the best performing companies in our portfolio,” Raybaud said.

SWEN Ocean Blue is tying 50 percent of its carried interest to the achievement of impact KPIs. Earlier this year, the firm outlined plans to top up its returns by developing the biodiversity credits market.