Why we invest in sustainable start-ups

A growing number of investors recognise the value of sustainable business. The global challenge of climate change undeniably poses an immense threat, however clever entrepreneurs are finding ways to turn climate risk into business opportunities. At a recent event in Oslo, we spoke to some of the early movers among green investors, who extend an open invitation for others to follow suit.

The inevitability of climate change makes the case for tackling issues head-on compelling to early-mover businesses. However, a new breed of entrepreneurs is currently emerging – one that goes beyond “tackling”, but rather embraces climate change issues and risks to the extent that their value offering directly targets climate change adaptation or mitigation.

Many of these entrepreneurs have entered the EIT Climate-KIC start-up accelerator, where they receive first-class coaching, training and financial support to professionalise and scale their business. They moreover enter a European-wide community of change makers – people who collectively possess the means to make the required shift to increased sustainability happen across industry and national borders. 

The pioneers

At a recent breakfast event during Oslo Innovation Week, investors and start-ups in the greentech, cleantech and sustainability space met. We spoke to Susanne Gløersen, who has been working within the field of sustainable investments for many years:

“Investing in cleantech and green capital is crucial to enable the necessary transition to a more sustainable low-carbon economy and society. Moreover, companies deliver solutions that directly or indirectly address global sustainability problems represent clear growth cases. Investors who want to make smart, profitable and resilient investments onwards need to look to investment cases that somehow tap into sustainability issues and -solutions.”

A call to investors

Several of the speakers at the Investor Breakfast called for the investor community to open their eyes to the many high potential investment prospects that emerge out of EU- and other publicly backed entrepreneurship programmes.

Jørn-Lein Mathisen from Business Angels Norway furthermore hailed the many positive aspects of being an active angel investor:

“Why become an angel investor? Because you learn a lot every day and it’s fun!”

Susanne Gløersen believes there is a need for more knowledge and a competence lift for investors to become more active in the cleantech and greentech areas:

“Some investors still carry the outdated view that all forms of investments linked to “green” are unprofitable and too volatile. We need to eradicate those misconceptions.”

Meet Europe’s Top 30 Cleantech Start-ups at Slush

Are you an investor looking to meet some of the most promising entrepreneurs and teams within cleantech, greentech and sustainable business? EIT Climate-KIC is bringing Europe’s Top 30 Cleantech Start-ups to Slush in Helsinki in November. Come by our stand or sign up for our Climate Impact Battle on 5 December (sign up page forthcoming).

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