Vala Capital, the entrepreneur-led venture capital firm, has launched a £20m Vala Sustainable Growth EIS fund targeting small companies focused on sustainable solutions.
The Vala Sustainable Growth EIS will invest in 10 small companies focused on sustainable technlogies should it hit its investment target.
The fund is open to pitches from founders as it has not yet closed its portfolio.
Vala Sustainable Growth EIS will focus on three specific areas:
- Technology for planetary health: technologies mitigating climate change
- Consumption and commerce: food, packaging and the circular economy
- Access to social needs: health, education and water
It will apply five sustainable criteria before making an investment, which include whether the business will deliver a positive impact on making humanity more sustainable and whether the company can meet sustainability reporting requirements.
The new fund launches after a recent survey of high-net-worth investors by Vala and WealthClub showed that 77 per cent believe small, innovative companies have a major part to play in tackling sustainability challenges, while 60 per cent of them said Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) played a part in their investment decisions.
A 2020 Global ETF investor survey from US private bank Brown Brothers Harriman estimated that nearly 74 per cent of global investors plan to increase their ESG investments over the next year.
The Vala Sustainable Growth EIS will be managed by a four-strong investment team, including fund manager Max Middleton and Vala’s CEO and founder Jasper Smith. Fund advisers include climate change expert Dr Gabrielle Walker and Mike Penrose, founder of The Sustainability Group.
Max Middleton, fund manager, said: “Investors putting capital to work in start-up and small businesses today are the key to driving meaningful, sustainable change. There is an opportunity for venture capitalists to step in – to help sustainable start-ups grow, become profitable and secure our future by creating a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable society.”