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Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Steve Granitz/WireImage via Getty Images

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

Details: Footprint Coalition, which to date has invested only Downey Jr.'s money, will raise capital from accredited investors via the "Rolling Funds" feature of investment platform AngelList.

  • It plans to raise two funds, one focused on early stage startups and one on later-stage startups, with AngelList allowing up to 2,000 "qualified" investors per fund.
  • If fully subscribed, that could work out to $160 million raised over two years.

Downey Jr. tells the Axios Re:Cap podcast: "What I learned, if nothing else from my years with the MCU, is you stop siloing your efforts and you engage your audience. And there becomes this informational synergy that I think supercharges your efforts... I feel we're demonstrating that if you want to build a real coalition, then I think it's about access... [Tony Stark] got his priorities straight by the end. It didn't turn out so well for him, but it wound up being the right thing for the team.."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 28, 2021 - Economy & Business

NBA signals further interest in private equity funding

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The National Basketball Association is opening the door a little wider for private equity funds, which to date have been largely excluded from investing in its franchises.

Driving the news: The league's board of governors has approved a framework whereby a PE fund could own up to 20% in a single franchise, and stakes in up to five franchises, as first reported by Sportico and confirmed by Axios.

16 mins ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Rising rates may hammer the stock market

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

Stocks are much more vulnerable to interest rate swings than they used to be.

Why it matters: A sharp rise in rates in early 2022 is the key reason the stock market is off to an ugly start. And with the Federal Reserve making noise about trying to keep inflation in check, rates could go higher.