ImpactAlpha, September 30 – Vancouver-based impact investor Renewal Funds has been investing in environmental technology and sustainable consumer products since it launched its first fund in 2008. The firm has raised C$145 million ($109 million) to accelerate investing in early stage companies.
Renewal focuses on sectors that even impact investors tend to avoid, like public transportation tech.
“We find many funds are adverse to investing in companies working with municipalities because the sales’ cycle is so long. But when you get it, you have a really good, sticky customer. That’s our approach,” Renewal’s Paul Richardson tells ImpactAlpha.
The new fund, Renewal4, has already invested in San Francisco-based Swiftly, which makes software for public transit planning, as well as Toronto-based Opus, which helps utilities link rooftop solar and wind into the grid, and Montreal-based snack company Prana.
Energy and water solutions as well as sustainable consumer products are other focus areas for Renewal. On the consumer products side, Renewal was an early investor in Seventh Generation, now owned by Unilever, and alternative protein company Sweet Earth, now under Nestlé. The firm looks for opportunities that lean more toward “good for the planet” than “good for the person,” Richardson explains. “We tend to look for organic companies that are sensitive to their carbon footprint and packaging story.”
Renewal4 has backed Montreal-based snack company Prana.
Renewal Funds originated in 2008 from Renewal Partners, a Canadian family office. It has C$240 million in assets under management.