ImpactAlpha, Mar. 1 – Derek Handley, who left Richard Branson’s B Team to launch Aera in 2016, has “sharpened the strategy and dropped almost everything that wasn’t climate-focused,” Hadley told ImpactAlpha (for context, see “Q&A with Derek Handley: From B Team to Aera VC“). In scope: alt-proteins, carbon capture, industrial decarbonization, and data and analytics.
Aera raised $30 million from a community of family offices and aims to raise up to $100 million in total. Outside of Web3, “climate is probably the hottest place to build a company,” Handley says. In the spirit of Web3, Aera has stood up an investment DAO, or distributed autonomous organization, to facilitate crowdfunding and decision-making.
Aera’s first investment in 2017 was in Solugen, the Houston-based producer of decarbonized chemicals now valued at $1.8 billion. Other investments include Shiok Meats (Singapore), Carbon Chain (London), Noya and Twelve (San Francisco) and Fable Foods (Australia). Handley says Aera portfolio companies have raised $1 billion in follow-on capital.
Aera’s DAO, called Aera Force, can raise up to $6 million (in the crypto currency Ether) from accredited investors to provide early funding to blockchain projects targeting climate and carbon-related challenges.