Pollinator targets early-stage clean energy tech with new $150 million fund

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Specialist investment firm Pollination Group has launched a $150 million (USD 100 million) venture capital fund to support Australian startups across five emerging sectors, including renewable energy technologies like long-duration energy storage and virtual power plants.

Pollination said it will identify and invest up to $12 million in early-stage technologies and companies across the whole of the net-zero, nature-positive opportunity set.

With an undisclosed cornerstone commitment from the state government-owned Queensland Investment Corporation, Pollination’s new fund will invest in industries including energy, transport, food and agriculture, nature management and recycling and reuse.

The Climate and Nature Impact Venture Fund’s focus on energy will include long-duration energy storage, distributed energy resources like virtual power plants, and new battery chemistries.

Pollination said it will target high-potential companies developing climate and nature technologies and solutions, making investments in the range of $4 to $12 million. The strategy, that will be open to wholesale and institutional investors only, offers a 10-year term and five-year investment period, with investments anticipated to begin in late 2024.

Pollination Chief Investment Officer Diana Callebaut said the group will be backing the best Australian startups to take their solutions to the world.

“Australia has an active and growing base of emerging climate tech companies and has natural advantages in areas such as energy tech, energy markets and carbon measurement,” she said.

“We will be working hard to connect startups to customers in global markets that are actively seeking better solutions.”

Pollination has already invested in Australian climate technology firms including energy startup MGA Thermal and a First Nations-led clean energy, green hydrogen and green ammonia export project.

The fund expects to take three to five years to allocate capital, with a heavier concentration in the early years and the prospect of reinvestment.

“We’ll look at investing 60% of the capital and then leave 40% to be able to top up our best opportunities,” Callebaut said.

Pollination has estimated that $202 trillion in global investment is required to achieve net zero and preserve nature, on pathways that require new breakthrough technologies and solutions.

“As corporations move to decarbonise and regulators act to accelerate the transition, demand for solutions is intensifying and the available investment pipeline grows,” the company said, adding that its venture strategy “seeks to offer a risk-adjusted and diversified approach to grasping opportunities that emerge from the world’s most important transition.”

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