the 2021 year-end review

2021 was the biggest year for climate tech yet and an equally fruitful year for us at FootPrint Coalition. We are excited to share a review of our 2021 activities in our first-ever annual update with you.

 

Read below to learn about our funds’ portfolios and investment performance, the highlights of our media work, and how we are helping fund the next wave of bright scientists in the climate arena. 

 

A Letter from our Founders

 

A little over two years ago we launched FootPrint Coalition to accelerate the discovery and adoption of technologies that could help humanity mitigate the climate crisis and adapt to a changing climate.

 

Since we debuted our venture funds at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year, we

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have seen enormous and accelerating amounts of capital investment in climate technologies, and our funds have benefited from that interest. 

 

We have backed 16 sustainable tech companies, many of which have already raised more capital at increased valuations – including the immersive climate education company, Arcadia Earth; the green financial services company, Aspiration; Turntide Motors and its revolutionary motor technology; and the bioplastic manufacturer, RWDC. We’ve made new investments in building better ways to create a sustainable food supply chain or software to enable the design of energy-efficient homes or next-generation earth-friendly electric vehicles.

 

Over the same period, we’ve become a cross-platform digital publisher, building engaged communities who will advocate for our companies and advance their missions. We have multiple streaming shows and social media features under development, in production, and post-production. That’s alongside our recently launched daily news site covering news at the intersection of climate and capital. 

 

Roughly $37 billion was invested into climate tech globally in 2021. The amount of capital committed to startups addressing the climate crisis rose by two-and-a-half times compared to spending before the global COVID-19 pandemic. But these companies need more capital and the world needs more innovation to ensure a vibrant and verdant future for the planet.

 

The push to decarbonize industry and reduce fossil fuel consumption will encompass every aspect of the global economy. Some of our friends at McKinsey believe this is a $270 trillion opportunity to create new industries over the next thirty years. 

 

With your help, all of us together are on track to truly transform this world into one that’s more sustainable, more equitable, and more abundant than the one we’ve inherited.

 

Sincerely, 

Robert, Jon, Rachel, and Steve

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OUR INVESTMENT strategy

We seek to identify and invest in fast-growing sustainable technology companies. We originate investments in top-tier venture capital-backed businesses and add value to our portfolio through digital publishing.

 

We were set into motion when Robert committed his global audience and creativity to generate enormous awareness for companies addressing the climate crisis. Behind this effort, a team of storytellers and digital publishers led by Jon Shieber created a passionate following of citizens, consumers, and investors who follow our companies. And we’re expanding and activating that audience across platforms like Discovery Network, Netflix, YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

 

Our storytelling is designed to assist companies by drawing awareness to their work. This attracts leading VCs and entrepreneurs to make space for us on their cap tables, so they will be featured. We then offer our community the opportunity to invest in these companies by participating in our early-stage fundlate-stage fund, and by co-investing alongside us in a select number of syndicate deals.

We see evidence that our strategy is working in the high-quality deal flow coming our way. Our entrepreneurs are referring us to other entrepreneurs. VCs are seeking our repeat support for different companies in their portfolio. People see our content and ask us to review their company. And our LP network has been very supportive with introductions of their own (thank you!).

 

Although we source investments from leading venture firms, we develop our own investment thesis and our own confirmatory diligence on each opportunity.  Central to our analysis are questions around leadership, product, market sizing, and market dynamics, competitive differentiation, resource planning, and valuation. We need high conviction in the team and in the long-term market opportunity. And we need to understand how the company will realistically hit measurable milestones that create significant shareholder value relative to our price. We carefully document our analysis so that we can track our portfolio’s performance against our original assumptions, and so that we will be ready for subsequent rounds of investment.

Invest in our Rolling Funds

We offer an early-stage fund for companies under $5M in revenues, and a late-stage fund for companies with over $5M in revenues. We close a new fund each quarter, with a one-year drawdown period and a 10-year life.

 

Investors in our funds participate in all our investments during the period of their subscription. Additionally, investors in our rolling funds receive a priority allocation in our Syndicates.

Back our Syndicate

Signing up is free. Once approved, we will notify you about investments that have capacity for co-investment and invite you to join a Syndicate to invest in a particular company.

 

We will share our investment analysis with you so that you can make a timely decision. We will monitor the investment over its life and report regularly on progress at the company.

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Investment Highlights

We have made investments in 16 companies to date, co-investing alongside top-tier investment firms including Breakthrough Energy, Menlo Ventures, Viking Global, Coatue, Tiger Global, and many others. These include 4 investments made before the set up of our rolling funds in Ynsect, RWDC, Cloud Paper, and Arcadia Earth. 

 

We were especially active in investing in new foods, mobility, and built environment solutions. And we’re tracking other companies across energy storage and production, carbon markets, novel materials, synthetic biology, and consumer tech more broadly (e.g. fashion). 

Seven of our companies have raised additional capital since our initial investment resulting in significant early markups across our portfolio. And, one of our portfolio companies out of our late-stage fund, Aspiration Bank, has announced plans to go public.

One thing that has become apparent to us is that our investment strategy is significantly scalable even at our current lean operations - the allocations we have received across the investments we made have exceeded our investable capital by nearly 4x (see below).

To help capture this investment opportunity while we scale up our funds, we launched our co-investment program in Q3 2021. We have since closed three investment syndicates, giving our LPs an opportunity to co-invest with us. With the enthusiastic response we have received, we expect the co-investment program to be an active part of our strategy going forward.

 

We are witnessing the transformation of every major industrial and consumer sector to decarbonize. Our portfolio is only just beginning to reflect the breadth of this transformation that will change the entire economy.

Early Stage Fund Performance

Within our Early Stage Fund, which focuses on pre-revenue climate tech companies, we made 7 investments over the course of 2021. We have already closed two new investments since the start of the year and are at the finish line with one more. The investments are in our Q1 2022 fund for those who chose to participate. We will share more information on those investments soon. With the quality of these teams and investment partners, their defensible market positions, and the size of their addressable markets, we are excited for what 2022 will bring these early-stage companies. We expect several will seek additional funding with follow-on raises which we will carefully evaluate.

Late Stage Fund Performance

 

Our Late Stage Fund, which invests in companies that already have revenue traction, made 5 investments in 2021 spanning food, home & prop-tech as well as consumer tech. We are preparing to close our sixth investment within the next month. Out of these investments, one company has already raised at a significantly higher valuation, which we cannot disclose yet, and another one (Aspiration Bank) announced plans to go public via SPAC, and raised over $300M in a PIPE led by Oaktree. We expect more exciting news from our portfolio over the next few months.

Late Stage Fund Performance

 

Our Late Stage Fund, which invests in companies that already have revenue traction, made 5 investments in 2021 spanning food, home & prop-tech as well as consumer tech. We are preparing to close our sixth investment within the next month. Out of these investments, one company has already raised at a significantly higher valuation, which we cannot disclose yet, and another one (Aspiration Bank) announced plans to go public via SPAC, and raised over $300M in a PIPE led by Oaktree. We expect more exciting news from our portfolio over the next few months.

Media Highlights

 

2021 held a number of firsts for FootPrint Coalition’s media operations. 

 

We launched a new media site, Foot.Notes, to serve as a resource for folks interested in engaging with and understanding the technologies, policies, and people addressing the climate crisis. 

 

We experimented with various interview formats to determine which one was best for us and our audience. And we began shooting the first of several prestige pieces of streaming media storytelling that will appear across networks like Discovery Channel and Netflix. 

 

These experiments in creating a new kind of innovative media company compliment our approach to investing. And we’re only just getting started. 

 

We now have a slate of programming that will launch across social media, streaming services, and our own website to inform, entertain, and engage our growing audience. 

 

Whether it’s long-form fictional narratives dramatizing the development of technologies that are set to transform the world, or keeping up with the daily drumbeat of climate innovation, policymaking, and collective actions that are working to heal the planet, FootPrint Coalition is at the forefront of the climate conversation. 

 

We’re growing our audience on social platforms like Twitter by the thousands every month and reaching the over 100,000 followers that are tracking FootPrint Coalition on Instagram. In the future, we’ll be moving onto other services like YouTube and TikTok with the formats and stories most appropriate to those audiences. 

 

Our community also engages directly with companies in our portfolio through initiatives like Beta Tasters (which we launched at the end of last year). The idea was to give our members the chance to be among the first to taste delectable new climate-friendly foods our portfolio companies are launching.

 

Our stories sometimes feature our portfolio companies or our non-profit partners. Taken together, our media work will cover the latest innovations and research in ways that entertain and inform. 

 

FootPrint Coalition’s Science Engine and Grants

 

The enabling power of technology hasn’t always been a priority in the environmental nonprofit world. Activists increasingly need new tools that are best able to manage complexity – remote sensing, AI, autonomous systems, etc. We saw an opportunity to partner with forward-thinking nonprofits to use tech to restore the planet. In 2021, we made grants in sensors to track marine heatwaves and a global database for mapping eDNA

 

Buoyed by the success of the Fast Grants program for COVID, we recently launched the FootPrint Coalition Science Engine - to accelerate discoveries for the climate and biodiversity crises. With it, we hope to scale support for early-career researchers, working in cutting-edge areas that don’t have many traditional funders but nonetheless may surface high-risk, high-reward projects.  

 

Applications have been steadily rolling in since the FPC Science Engine’s announcement in December 2021! The first five subject matter categories each have at the helm a brilliant scientist, with autonomy over the seed funding for their pipeline of projects. We launched with Cellular Agriculture, Indigenous Futures, Community Science + Environmental Justice, Conservation Biotech, and Augmented Discovery.

 

And you’re among the earliest to see our first cohort of projects, ready for crowdfunding from folks like you! Please join us to provide support in any way you can - donate, share, comment, and think about new fields you’d like us to tackle. More is more - let’s go!

 

Looking Forward

 

In the coming year, we’re excited to further scale our investment work and forge deeper partnerships with our portfolio companies. Our flywheel of audience building and new tech discovery, fundraising, investing, and portfolio company support will keep expanding – and with it our global reach and impact. We’re looking forward to showing you what’s behind the curtain for 2022.

 

Want to join us?

 

Learn how you can invest with us, become an investor in our Early Stage Fund and Late Stage Fund, and register to Co-Invest With Us.

Stay up to date with the latest news in Climate Tech on Foot.Notes

Fast fund cutting edge research at the FootPrint Coalition Science Engine

Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to never miss our updates

 

We look forward to having you part of our Coalition!