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Exclusive: Wellington raises $385M for first private climate fund

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Wellington Management raised $385 million for its first private fund focused solely on climate investments, the firm tells Axios.

Why it matters: It's a significant commitment to climate by one of the world's biggest investors.

The big picture: Wellington, with more than $1.1 trillion assets under management, has invested in climate companies through its public market funds since 2007, but it hadn't yet established a private fund dedicated to the space.

The latest: The Boston-based investor last week held final close on its Climate Innovation Fund, concluding a lengthy raise that started in the second half of 2021.

  • LPs include sovereign funds, sovereign pensions, insurance providers, banks, and wealthy individuals, Greg Wasserman, Wellington's head of private climate investing, tells Axios.

Driving the news: The fund will focus on software, data, AI and software-enabled hardware, where tech has largely been de-risked and the company has evolved beyond small pilots.

  • "We are very much more tech than science," Wasserman says. "We are not what I'd think of as a cleantech fund. We are not investing in asset-heavy projects."

Case in point: The fund's investments so far include circular economy service Trove Recommerce, energy data provider Arcadia, electrical panel manufacturer Span, mushroom-protein startup Meati, robot recycling developer Amp Robotics, and energy analytics provider Orennia.

What's next: Wellington expects to back 15-20 startups through its climate fund, writing initial checks ranging from $10 million to $25 million.

  • It will target Series B through Series D rounds, typically as lead investor seeking board seats.
  • The firm will chiefly focus on North America and Europe. Target industries span smart buildings and cities, food, agriculture, mobility, energy transition, and the enterprise and industrial sectors.
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