Crowdfunding success for sustainability start-up fund

An investment fund for start-ups that support sustainability principles such as the circular economy has secured more than £1m after exceeding its original crowdfunding target by 22%.

The Sustainable Accelerator aims to support the next generation of businesses that can redefine the way society consumes energy, manages waste, and applies smart resource technology. Having already received £300,000 from the London waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), the fund has since raised more than £700,000 via crowdfund platform Seedrs.

“Now, more than ever, entrepreneurs are building ground-breaking sustainability technologies at pace, and monetising changes in resource economics,” the company said. “To us it is clear, now is the time to be actively supporting these new innovations and ideas.

“Sustainable Accelerator is an extension of our original vision – to fund and nurture commercially sound sustainability companies – and is built to provide both the tangible and intangible resources start-ups need in their first few years.”

Led by private equity firm Sustainable Ventures, the fund will offer investments of £50-250,000 for 10 “high-growth potential” sustainability businesses. The Sustainability Accelerator will provide a one-year programme of expert support, strategy planning and industry networks.

Sustainable Ventures has a track record of founding sustainability businesses. The firm has attracted more than £2.5m of equity funding for Powervault since founding the energy equipment supplier in 2012. Earlier this month, it was announced that Powervault had partnered with carmaker Renault and Marks & Spencer (M&S) to trial used electric vehicle (EV) batteries in home energy storage units in the UK.

Standing out from the crowd

Crowdfunding is emerging as one of the best sources of investment for sustainability projects looking for long-term funding, The world’s only independent hydrogen fuel cell vehicle manufacturer, Welsh firm Riversimple, earlier this year exceeded its crowdfunding target of £1m which will enable the UK trial of innovative and affordable hydrogen cars.

Last summer, consumer goods giant Unilever became one of the first global corporations to tap into the potential of crowdfunding for sustainability projects after it established a new partnership to accelerate green innovation and create ‘consumer-championed products’.

George Ogleby

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