The European Circular Bioeconomy Fund has invested in two companies providing a solution to food waste and alternative protein
Man holding a circular economy symbol standing on top of a hill in the sunset

ECBF Management has announced the closing of the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF), the first venture fund exclusively focused on the bioeconomy and the circular bioeconomy in Europe. 

With a target size of €250 million, to which the European Investment Bank (EIB) has committed €100 million, ECBF will be an important financial instrument in achieving the European Green Deal goals of making Europe climate neutral by 2050.

ECBF has raised €82 million from its cornerstone investor EIB and three private investors: PreZero International, which operates in waste and recycling; Corbion, a global specialist in bio-based chemicals and polymers; and Hettich Beteiligungen, an investor in sustainable business and services. 

“We appreciate the trust the private LPs, the European Commission, and the EIB have given ECBF’s team,” said Michael Brandkamp, general partner at ECBF. “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. 

Brandkamp reports seeing significant interest in the fund, which remains open for new investors until August 2021.

“To be a true leader in the circular economy, we need to lead by example and do our part to achieve the Paris Agreement. Joining the ECBF fits perfectly in this effort,” said Olivier Rigaud, chief executive at Corbion. 

Rigaud said the returns Corbion expects from investing in ECBF are not primarily monetary. “This really is about driving change through excellence in innovation, that will help us preserve our planet, together.”

Portfolio companies

The new fund has completed its first investments in two innovative growth-stage companies, PeelPioneers and Prolupin. 

PeelPioneers uses pioneering technology to provide a 100% circular solution for orange peel, turning it into products like orange oils, dietary fibres, and animal feed.

“We are extremely pleased to have ECBF on our side,” said Bas van Wieringen, co-founder of PeelPioneers. “This shows that sustainability and a healthy business performance can go hand in hand. With this investment, we will scale up our production capacity to process more peels into functional ingredients for the food industry, which would otherwise be incinerated.”

From regionally grown Lupines, Prolupin produces high-quality plant-based proteins, which are being formulated into non-dairy alternatives marketed on the European market under the brand “Made with LUVE”.

“The ECBF funding will make an important contribution to accelerating the growth of Prolupin within B2B and B2C, said Malte Stampe, chief executive of Prolupin. 

Stampe explained that R&D, marketing and distribution the company can deploy over the coming years will put Lupine Protein Isolate (LPI) and the Made with LUVE brand in front of consumers aiming for a healthy, sustainable ingredient and lifestyle.

ECBF circular economy focus

The ECBF’s primary objective is to stimulate additional private and public capital investment to scale up innovative bio-based companies and projects. 

More specifically, ECBF provides equity investment to growth-stage bioeconomy and circular bioeconomy companies with high potential for innovation, favourable returns, and sustainable impact. 

ECBF is based in Luxembourg and managed by Hauck & Aufhäuser Fund Services.

Date published: 6 October 2020

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