Sustainable Ventures invests 12x more in female founders than industry average

Sustainable Ventures, a European climate tech hub, has invested significantly more in female founders than the global industry average, committing nearly a quarter (23%) of its funds to all-female founding teams compared to the industry's 1.8% in 2023.

These figures emerged as Sustainable Ventures celebrated its 50th investment. Notably, 65% of its investments supported startups with female or underrepresented co-founders.

Since 2017, Sustainable Ventures has invested over £9 million in 50 climate tech startups at the pre-seed and seed stages. These startups have collectively raised an additional £160 million and are now valued at over £600 million.

Success stories include Albotherm, which developed temperature-responsive technology to cut emissions from thermal management, and subsea robotics provider RovCo. More than half of these companies are based outside London, contrasting with the wider UK startup scene, where only one third of VC funding goes beyond the capital.

The latest investment went to Radiant Matter, a materials startup creating shimmer and colour effects from plant-based cellulose, aiming to reduce reliance on microplastics and toxic colourants. Radiant Matter has collaborated with brands like Stella McCartney and Been London.

Sustainable Ventures prioritises exceptional founders, unique intellectual property, and strong climate impact when selecting investments. The team’s focus on core technologies in software, hardware, and materials, along with ensuring a diverse founder mix, has driven its success. Hardware and advanced materials climate-tech solutions comprise about two thirds of their investment portfolio, with university-backed startups becoming more prevalent.

Stuart Ferguson, Investment Partner at Sustainable Ventures, said: “The reason our investments outperform the market is down to our strong selection process and unique support model.

“We are always looking for diverse founders who can help their customers solve critical net zero challenges. We don’t invest in formulaic, copycat companies that lack ruthless commercial focus.

“As well as funding experts, the Sustainable Ventures’ investment team is made up of ex-founders and ex-engineers so we understand the needs of entrepreneurs. We focus more on the capabilities and potential of founders and help them develop into the leaders of the future.

“We have a diverse portfolio of successful technologies and brilliant founders aided by Sustainable Venture’s wider support ecosystem. We can’t wait to get going in backing the next generation of diverse founders through our next 50 investments.”

Elissa Brunato, Founder and CEO at Radiant Matter, said: “Radiant Matter is thrilled to partner with Sustainable Ventures, whose values and commitment to Climatetech closely align with our own.

“We are grateful for their extensive experience, which will be invaluable as we move forward into the next stage of growth and expand our team to develop our material platform technology.

“We love their dedication to supporting all founders regardless of gender, their investment is a strong validation of our vision and potential. Together, we can make a significant impact in the materials industry.”