Sky to anchor £100m Planet Fund for climate-focused start-ups

Broadcast giant Sky is anchoring a new £100m ‘operator-first’ venture capital fund to early-stage entrepreneurs launching ‘planet positive’ technologies.

Powered by ‘startup accelerator and venture studio’ Founders Factory, the Planet Fund aims to help plug the funding gap faced by nmany seed stage climate-focused startups.

Sky said the fund would offer entrepreneurs access to “Founders Factory’s robust approach to company building with high-conviction capital, execution support and an unparalleled network”. It said it would focus on start-ups looking to address broad sustainability themes, including decarbonisation, resource preservation, climate resilience, and the circular economy.

The broadcaster also announced that it plans to move its existing Sky Ocean Ventures initiative – and the 25 startups it has invested in since its launch in 2018 – into the Planet Fund. The fund will include the proceeds from the sale of one of Sky Ocean Ventures biggest success stories, paper bottle maker choose Packaging, to tech giant Hewlett Packard.

Debbie Klein, group chief marketing, corporate affairs, and people officer at Sky, said Founders Factory would be “the perfect fit to take forward our work investing in businesses that will accelerate climate technologies and deliver a cleaner, safer future and more sustainable behaviours” .

The Planet Fund will be led by Henry Lane Fox, CEO of Founders Factory, partner at Firstminute capital and chairman of Creator Fund, and Jamie Rowles, former head of investments at Sky Ocean Ventures. The fund’s investment team will also be supported by venture partners and advisors from a number of leading climate technology companies including, Ovo Energy, Mindful Chef, and ZeroAvia.

“We felt compelled to build this fund both by the urgency of the problem and the scale of the opportunity,” Lane Fox said. “We’ve seen a huge migration of tech talent wanting to work in the climate, and know there is a gap to provide high-conviction capital and hands on support to the next generation of ambitious planet focused companies. Sky, one of Europe’s leading voices on climate, as our first partner.”

The partnership with Sky will further increase Founders Factory’s climate tech focus, which in recent years has seen it launch G-Force, a pre-seed investment program for climate startups alongside partner Nesta, to create new ventures tackling household carbon emissions. Founders Factory also recently announced the Blue Action Lab, an ocean technology program.

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