Sustainable Ventures invests 12 times more in female-founded startups than industry average

  • Insight revealed as Sustainable Ventures announces milestone 50th investment
  • Holistic support model drives success of portfolio

Sustainable Ventures, Europe’s leading climate tech hub, has invested 12 times more money in female founders than the global industry average.

Sustainable Ventures committed nearly a quarter (23%) of its investment to entirely female founders. By comparison, the venture capital industry as a whole only invested 1.8% into entirely female founded teams in Europe in 2023.

 

The stark figures were disclosed as Sustainable Ventures celebrated its landmark 50th investment. Two thirds (65%) of investments also went to startups with female or underrepresented co-founders.

At the pre-seed and seed stages, Sustainable Ventures has invested just over £9 million into 50 climate tech startups since 2017. Those startups have since collectively raised a further £160 million, and together are worth over £600 million.

Successes of the portfolio include Albotherm, which has created a temperature responsive technology to reduce the emissions from thermal management, and subsea robotics provider RovCo.

 

Over half of the 50 companies are based outside London, in comparison to the wider UK startup industry where only one third of VC funding went outside the capital.

The company’s latest investment went to Radiant Matter, a new materials startup developing shimmer and colour-effects from plant-based cellulose. The company aims to help manufacturers and brands in the process of moving away from microplastics and toxic colourants, and has already worked with the likes of Stella McCartney and Been London.

 

When investing in a company, Sustainable Ventures looks for incredible founders, interesting IP, and strong climate impact. The investment team’s success is also down to a focus on core technologies in software, hardware and materials and ensuring a diverse founder mix.

Companies with hardware or advanced materials climate-tech solutions make up around two thirds of Sustainable Ventures’ investment portfolio, with university-backed startups also increasingly common.

 

Stuart Ferguson, Investment Partner at Sustainable Ventures, said: “The reason our investments outperform the market is down to our strong selection process and unique support model. 

“We are always looking for diverse founders who can help their customers solve critical net zero challenges. We don’t invest in formulaic, copycat companies that lack ruthless commercial focus.

“As well as funding experts, the Sustainable Ventures’ investment team is made up of ex-founders and ex-engineers so we understand the needs of entrepreneurs. We focus more on the capabilities and potential of founders and help them develop into the leaders of the future. 

“We have a diverse portfolio of successful technologies and brilliant founders aided by Sustainable Venture’s wider support ecosystem. We can’t wait to get going in backing the next generation of diverse founders through our next 50 investments.”

 

Elissa Brunato, Founder and CEO at Radiant Matter, said: “Radiant Matter is thrilled to partner with Sustainable Ventures, whose values and commitment to Climatetech closely align with our own. 

“We are grateful for their extensive experience, which will be invaluable as we move forward into the next stage of growth and expand our team to develop our material platform technology. 

“We love their dedication to supporting all founders regardless of gender, their investment is a strong validation of our vision and potential. Together, we can make a significant impact in the materials industry.”

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Lisa Baker is the Editor of International Business News. As the Owner of Need to See IT Publishing, Lisa is an experienced business and technology journalist and publisher.