Today we’re proud to introduce a new Cleantech for Europe leader: Alantra’s pan-European energy transition fund Klima is looking to invest in B2B scaleups working on decarbonising the energy mix, or applying digitalisation techniques and energy efficiency techniques to heavy industry. Klima is also backed by Spanish industrial Enagas. We spoke to Klima’s Managing Partner Lucille Bonnet about what’s needed to scale the EU’s vibrant early-stage innovation, enabling pan-European success stories, and finding talent in under-developed ecosystems.
The EU is now a nest of early-stage innovation, but that innovation needs to be scaled up. There aren’t enough independent early growth investors in the market: from Series B onwards, corporate investment is the primary option.
“We’re interested in software and hardware plays and focus on B2B business models” says Lucille. “At the growth stage, pace depends more on the market segment than the technology: it can be slower to sell and integrate a software for grid operations than commercialize an end-to-end battery solution.”
Klima had a first close in May 2021 with €80m commitment, and expects final close mid-2022 to reach a total fund size of €150 to 200m. The early commitment of Enagas and the support of the Alantra asset management platform have been crucial in the fundraising. The fund already has a presence in Spain, France and Germany, and plans to add Nordic representation next year.
Lucille sees good deal pipeline in many parts of the EU. How can we increase involvement from Southern and Eastern Europe? “In Spain, the early-stage financing ecosystem is less mature than in other countries. There is a lot more bootstrapping, so a bottom-up approach is needed. Our strategy is to be in touch with accelerators and incubators, early-stage and corporate funds, but also directly with start-ups, and to connect them to the wider EU ecosystem.”