New investment fund supports the bioeconomy

05 October 2020 | Muriel Cozier

SCI’s Green Recovery File: ‘Our fund will drive the scale up of innovative bioeconomy companies…’

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Commission and ECBF Management GmbH, have established the first equity fund exclusively dedicated to the bioeconomy and the circular bioeconomy in the European Union.

The European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF) is currently funded to the tune of €82 million; the target size is €250 million. The ECBF is advised by ECBF Management GmbH, with Hauck & Aufhäuser Fund Services SA Luxembourg as the Alternative Investment Fund Manager.

The new fund provides equity investment to innovative growth-stage bioeconomy companies and projects. The ECBF aims to fill an important financing gap in this area by mobilising public and private investments to scale-up innovative bio-based companies with high potential.

Initial investment from the fund has gone to PeelPioneers, a Dutch company using engineering technology to turn waste from orange peels into essential oils, dietary fibre and animal feed, and Prolupin, a producer of high-quality proteins which are turned into dairy alternatives. Prolupin’s products are currently marketed in Germany.

Michael Brandkamp, Head of ECBF said ‘Our fund will drive the scale-up of innovative bioeconomy companies to have a significant impact on sustainability, thereby providing attractive returns for its investors. Currently, we see significant interest in our fund which remains open for new investors until August 2021.’

European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, added ‘The bioeconomy is essential to address the European Green Deal’s climate and environmental-related challenges. It has the potential to drive the competiveness, sustainable growth and renewal of our industries and to modernise out primary production systems. To be successful, the European bioeconomy needs to have sustainability at its heart.’

The EIB is the fund’s anchor investor, having put in an initial €65 million. It has also committed a total of €100 million to the fund, backed by InnovFin – EU finance for Innovators, an initiative of the EIB Group and the European Commission to facilitate access to finance for innovation and research. The remainder of the first €82 million was committed by private investors.

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