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At One Ventures raises $375M for nature-focused second fund

Illustration of a hand depositing a one dollar bill into the Earth through a slot.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Climate venture investment firm At One Ventures raised $375 million for a fund focused on biodiversity.

Why it matters: The early-stage fund plans to invest in startups aiming to not simply reduce carbon emissions but restore damaged ecosystems — joining a small but growing list of venture firms looking for returns from things like planting trees and restoring mangroves.

How it works: At One's second fund will turn its attention to hardware rather than software, with a heavy emphasis on environmental impacts.

  • "Reducing emissions is not going to be enough — we need to focus on restoring ecosystems that can store carbon," At One founding partner Laurie Menoud tells Axios.

The intrigue: Ecosystem restoration has traditionally proved difficult to monetize — especially at the outsize level of returns that venture investors expect.

  • At One plans to address this by targeting heavy industry as a customer base, such as mining companies already spending millions to comply with environmental restoration mandates.

Meanwhile, other firms are turning toward so-called nature-based startups.

  • Generation Investment Management, for example, last week detailed how its $1.5 billion climate arm, Just Climate, will invest growth capital in companies engaging in ecosystem restoration.

Details: Fund II LPs include Temasek's sustainability investment arm GenZero, the World Wildlife Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, CalSTRS, and the New Mexico State Investment Council, as well as One Small Planet, Toba Capital and Valhalla Foundation.

  • The fund will make initial investments of $1 million to $8 million, typically as lead investor, in startups raising seed through Series A rounds.
  • It's invested in eight startups since the fund's first close last summer. At One expects to invest in about 30 startups through the fund.

Of note: About 40% of the firm's startups were launched by women and people of color.

  • At One was launched by Google X founding member Tom Chi.
  • The firm was an early investor in battery materials company Ascend Elements, which announced a $542 million raise last month, and animal de-extinction startup Colossal Biosciences, which closed a $150 million round in January.
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