Ocean Economy

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WWF-backed biotech Oceanium has developed a biorefinery that transforms seaweed into alt-proteins and compostable packaging that will soon be launched commercially.

Founded in 2018, Oslo-based Katapult Ocean is the first investor focused entirely on oceantech and related startups. The VC also operates a three-month accelerator and has invested in 32 startups from 17 countries worldwide.The VC typically invests at the seed or pre-seed level but in July 2020 it completed its first Series A round of $8.5m investment in Chilean social enterprise Betterfly. Other recent investments include the pre-seed rounds of US foodtech GreenCover and Dutch offshore solar tech SolarDuck.

Beyond Investing is a Geneva-based firm investing in early-stage venture capital and equity growth startups mainly in European developed markets. With average investments of €200,000, the firm’s core investment strategy focuses on sustainability with an investment period lasting 5–10 years.The impact investor targets innovative startups involved in vegan, cruelty-free and plant-based alternatives; biotechnologies, foodtech, new materials, clothing and lifestyle sectors. Successful portfolio foodtechs include Mosa Meat, BlueNalu and Shiok Meats.With a team of vegan finance professionals in the US and Europe, Beyond Investing listed the first US Vegan Climate ETF (VEGN) on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2019. The ETF tracks Beyond Investing’s US Vegan Climate Index which covers an index of 495 of the largest-capitalization companies in the US stock market. The ethical investment option aims to exclude stocks in companies with activities that are not aligned with its vegan-themed, cruelty-free and fossil-fuel-free investing ethos.

GU Ventures is the Swedish venture capital agency of University of Gothenburg. The VC also runs incubator programs to support tech and science-related projects within the university and its alumni network.Founded in 1995, GU has backed more than 150 companies and projects, including 30 exits and 11 filed IPOs. According to the firm, 87% of its portfolio companies are contributing to the sustainable development goals set by the UN.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is an international NGO operating across over 100 countries with projects initially focused on the protection of endangered species, which later expanded into other areas like the preservation of biological diversity, protection of natural resources, and the mitigation of climate change. It is considered the world's largest conservation organization, working with a network of different NGOs, governments, scientists, companies, local communities, investment banks, fishermen and farmers. The WWF was founded in 1961 and 55% of its funding comes from individuals and bequests, 19% from government sources, and 8% from corporations. With more than $1bn in investment capital, WWF has supported more than 12,000 conservation initiatives with over 5m supporters worldwide. The institution has been often criticized for not campaigning objectively because of its strong ties with multinational corporations such as Coca-Cola, Lafarge, and IKEA. In 2019 the institution reported 4% of its total operating revenue coming from corporations. 

Sky Ocean Ventures is a £25m impact investment fund and part of the Sky Media Group. It was launched in 2018 with the goal of accelerating businesses that can tackle global plastic pollution with innovative ideas and disruptive technologies. The firm has backed 20 startups that have developed solutions that help mitigate plastic disposals in the environment, such as disposable bottles made of paper, reusable delivery boxes, sachets made from seaweed and packaging made from wood chips. Sky Ocean Ventures also partners with, among others, The National Geographic and the Imperial College in London. 

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