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

Sustainable Ventures, Europe’s leading climate tech hub, has committed nearly a quarter (23%) of its investments to entirely female founders, a figure 12 times higher than the global industry average of 1.8% for female-founded teams in Europe in 2023.

This significant milestone was disclosed as Sustainable Ventures celebrated its 50th investment. Notably, two-thirds (65%) of its investments have gone to startups with female or underrepresented co-founders.

Since 2017, Sustainable Ventures has invested over £9 million at the pre-seed and seed stages into 50 climate tech startups. These companies have collectively raised an additional £160 million and are now valued at over £600 million. The portfolio includes innovative companies like Albotherm, which develops temperature-responsive technology to reduce emissions from thermal management, and RovCo, a provider of subsea robotics.

In contrast to the broader UK startup ecosystem, where only a third of venture capital funding goes outside London, more than half of Sustainable Ventures’ portfolio companies are based outside the capital.

The latest investment by Sustainable Ventures went to Radiant Matter, a materials startup creating shimmer and colour effects from plant-based cellulose. Radiant Matter aims to assist manufacturers and brands in moving away from microplastics and toxic colourants, with clients including Stella McCartney and Been London.

Sustainable Ventures focuses on companies with outstanding founders, compelling intellectual property, and a strong climate impact. The investment team attributes its success to a strong selection process and a unique support model, concentrating on core technologies in software, hardware, and materials, and ensuring a diverse founder mix.

Hardware or advanced materials climate-tech solutions comprise about two-thirds of Sustainable Ventures’ portfolio, with university-backed startups becoming increasingly common.

Stuart Ferguson, Investment Partner at Sustainable Ventures, explained, “Our investments outperform the market due to our rigorous selection process and comprehensive support model. We seek diverse founders who can solve critical net zero challenges, and we avoid investing in formulaic, copycat companies without a sharp commercial focus.”

He added, “Our investment team consists of ex-founders and ex-engineers who understand the needs of entrepreneurs. We focus on the potential of founders and support them in developing into future leaders. Our diverse portfolio of successful technologies and brilliant founders benefits from Sustainable Ventures’ extensive support ecosystem. We are excited to continue backing the next generation of diverse founders through our next 50 investments.”

Elissa Brunato, Founder and CEO of Radiant Matter, said, “Radiant Matter is thrilled to partner with Sustainable Ventures, whose values and commitment to climate tech align closely with our own. Their extensive experience will be invaluable as we grow and expand our material platform technology. Their dedication to supporting all founders, regardless of gender, strongly validates our vision and potential. Together, we can significantly impact the materials industry.”

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