Cleantechs: Who’s Investing?
Farzana Haque, 13 april 2023
Earlier this year, our flagship report, The Deal, found that cleantech deals increased by 17% from 2021 to 2022. This figure alone is impressive, but given the context of the wider market—almost all other tech sectors saw a decline in announced deals in 2022—we wanted to dig into the data further. Who are the investors backing cleantech?
Read on to find out.
Top investors in the sector
In the last four years, cleantech investment has been on the rise. After a record number of deals completed in 2022, cleantech is now firmly positioned as one of the top tech verticals in the UK equity market. There are 1,311 active high-growth cleantech companies in the UK and a whopping 3,909 cleantech fundraisings between them on our platform. But who were the top cleantech investors of 2022?
Last year, there was a total of 502 fundraisings held by cleantechs. Two of the top three cleantech backers were crowdfunding platforms—or rather those using these platforms—with Crowdcube participating in 33 deals and Seedrs in 30.
The most prolific venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) last year was North-West-based SFC Capital. Other top backers included Shell Ventures, BGF Growth Capital, and the devolved government fund Scottish Venture Fund.
Looking back at the past five years, we found that Seedrs and Crowdcube featured in two of the top three spots every year. Though it may seem that crowdfunding dominating the cleantech investment scene points to a sector struggling to gain validity in front of VCs, this is actually in line with the broader investment trends. Indeed, The Deal found that the most active investor across the UK high-growth ecosystem in 2022 was Seedrs with Crowdcube following close behind in second position.
The VCs and PEs behind cleantech
Of the 547 active PE/VCs tracked on our platform, 35% have participated in a cleantech fundraising, meaning that over a third of PE/VCs have at least one cleantech company in their portfolio. But who are the most active funds?
Looking at all-time deals made in cleantech, Par Equity comes out on top having participated in 23 fundraisings within the high-growth ecosystem. SFC Capital and BGF Growth Capital also feature among the top five funds backing cleantechs.
What’s next for cleantech?
Looking to the future, there are huge opportunities for cleantech to continue on its path of growth. One such space for innovation is hydrogen technology. Hydrogen tech companies bucked the declining investment trend by raising £152m more in 2022 than in 2021.
So far, it’s been a slow start to the year for cleantech with both the number of fundraisings and the amount raised declining in Q1 2023 from Q4 2022. But there is plenty of time left for the sector to match the heights of 2022. And we’re optimistic it will.
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