Green investments, at times shunned and misunderstood by mainstream investors, may be having their moment in the sun.
In a latest sign that investors are seeking opportunities to fund companies that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, Boston-based Clean Energy Ventures raised a greater-than-expected $110 million for its first fund. The company says the fund will invest in climate-friendly energy startups.
The fund was “significantly oversubscribed,” Daniel Goldman, managing director of Clean Energy Ventures, said in a statement. Investor enthusiasm is “indicative not only of investors’ appetite for innovation in these sectors, but also of the new normal in which this kind of funding is possible without compromising return on investment.”
The Clean Energy Venture Fund was supposed to close at $75 million, a company representative told Axios. The fund will be looking at startups in the U.S. and Canada with technology or business models that can quickly be scaled up and brought to market, and curb greenhouse gas emissions while being profitable.
Venture investments in so-called cleantech nearly doubled to $15.1 billion last year, from $7.65 billion in 2017, according to PitchBook. So far this year, $8.9 billion has been raised. Breakthrough Energy Ventures, backed by Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg and Jack Ma, is among the best-known clean energy venture firms, and has invested in entrepreneurs with ideas that provide affordable power without contributing to climate change.
Investments in green bonds are also soaring, heading for a record $200 billion.
The fund already has made seven investments in areas such as grid connectivity and metering, new materials and manufacturing, software and smart grid sensors. Areas that the fund is looking to invest in include energy storage, grid improvements, renewable energy output and clean transportation.
The Clean Energy Ventures Strategic Advisory Board is led by former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and also includes Ellen Williams, former chief scientist of BP Plc., and J. Michael McQuade, former chief technology officer of United Technologies.