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Tech investors back an inaugural climate voyage

Apr 6, 2022
Illustration of a hand depositing a one dollar bill into the Earth through a slot.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Voyager Ventures, an early-stage climate-focused VC fund, raised $100 million for its inaugural fund, its founders tell Axios.

Why it matters: More private money is flowing into climate, and limited partners and institutions are looking to get in at the earliest stages.

Driving the news: Voyager's $100 million Fund I comes with a heavy dose of Silicon Valley and corporate leadership in its LP base.

  • General partners at NEA, Insight Venture Partners and USV have all contributed to the fund.
  • Former GE CEO Jeff Immelt, Lyft CEO Logan Green, Shopify founder Tobi Lütke and his spouse Fiona McKean are investors and Lowercarbon Capital's Chris Sacca is also an LP.

Between the lines: Voyager will invest in pre-seed, seed and Series A stage companies. It also has a follow-on fund that can participate in larger Series A or Series B deals.

  • For LPs, Voyager is essentially conducting due diligence on their behalf. Voyager founder Sierra Peterson tells Axios there isn't a formal partnership in place between her fund and her investors' funds.
  • "We have credibility with the GPs, and we can bring many of those GPs into the deals we find most compelling," Peterson says.

Details: Voyager is intentionally looking at early-stage companies that have academic or lab-based backgrounds but haven't yet commercialized their fundamental technologies.

  • The strategy de-risks one of the biggest areas of concern for early-stage technical investors by validating the scientific portion of the company's value proposition.
  • With backgrounds in economics and technology, respectively, Peterson and her co-founder Sarah Sclarsic are relying on nearly three decades of experience to bring "unsexy" climate technologies to market, fast.
  • The fund has made five investments to date, including one in Ento, an energy management software company in Denmark that Peterson says has helped reduce Europeans' energy consumption in recent weeks.

The bottom line: Look for deep-pocketed institutions and individuals to continue investing in early-stage specialist climate funds as the sector continues to gain mainstream momentum.

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