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Today we got on the news "Atlas Capital looks to raise $10m for first SE Asia climate tech fund" (DealStreetAsia)
Entrepreneur Djoann Fal, is aiming to raise a $10 million debut fund with an expectation to increase it to $50 million over time. Atlas Capital is an angel investor syndicate that allows retail investors to participate in a climate tech fund. The community currently has over 160 angel investors. While these individual investors have helped the firm raise its first few million US dollars, it is working with several organizational limited partners (LPs) to back the maiden fund, Fal, who is the general partner and founder of Atlas Capital, told DealStreetAsia.
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Bringing Silicon Valley clean tech to SEA
Djoann Fal said one institutional investor and two corporates are making commitments, including one anchor investor who is expected to take the fund’s corpus to as much as $50 million. Atlas Capital expects to close the first $10 million next quarter. At the same time, Fal said he is aware of the current market conditions that might cause a delay in fundraising. Some of Atlas Capital’s individual LPs are executives from Thai majors such as CP Group and Central Group, as well as people from Google and L’Oreal, among others. “It’s important to enable retail investors to be part of creating the climate journey, and also part of the financial returns from this big wave,” Fal said. Atlas Capital aims to have 30% of its LP base as retail investors while the rest will be institutional investors, he added. The fund will use the majority of its capital to invest in US climate tech companies that have a mandate to expand to Southeast Asia, with the remaining being earmarked for venture building in Southeast Asia. “We believe that importing innovation from Silicon Valley and Europe to Southeast Asia can help accelerate decarbonization transition in Southeast Asia,” asserted Fal, pointing to the lack of deal flow in the region. Because climate tech deals are still scarce in Southeast Asia, the venture building business will help create such opportunities, said Fal, who previously worked for tech venture builder Rocket Internet and then founded GetLinks, Southeast Asia’s largest technology talent recruiting platform backed by Alibaba. Fal revealed that Atlas Capital has started three Southeast Asian projects under the venture building program, including a carbon-cultured farm project. Meanwhile, its US portfolio includes EV batteries waste management automation startup Posh Robotics, genome analysis company Avalo AI, industrial carbon recycling firm Hyperion and urban waste platform and collection logistics firm Trash Warrior, among others.
Growing climate tech interest in VCs but lack of diversity
Atlas Capital joins a space of global venture capital funds focused on tackling climate issues in Southeast Asia, such as Circulate Capital, Clime Capital, Aera VC and Investible. Several sector-agnostic investors have also launched their decarbonization initiatives, including Wavemaker Partners, Temasek, and East Ventures. For Atlas Capital, Fal bets on his network of experts in the field. “We have scientists in biology, environmental change, and carbon detection as advisors through our whole investment process. It’s a risk for climate tech if startups raise a lot of money but don’t have scientists to help them track if their technology is carbon negative or not,” he said. “Investing in climate solutions is not only profitable but also purposeful. That’s why I’m excited about enabling small investors to be part of our climate financing movements.” He added: “If you look at the first 40 unicorns in the clean tech and climate sector for the past 10 years, the aggregated return is tremendously high at 250x.” However, to be able to invest in funds that backed those unicorns, Fal pointed out, investors got to put in $5 million as the minimum LP commitment. “I’m excited about climate financing becoming more inclusive,” he exclaimed.
Interview of 21/07/2022 from Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc on DealStreetAsia