Science

Planet A supports start-ups that tackle the world’s biggest environmental problems while building profitable businesses.

We don’t target companies that do something a little better in these areas – we are looking for the champions of change that bring a disruptive quality into an industry, are highly innovative, and help change systems.

We only invest in start-ups that can demonstrate a quantifiable impact in at least one of these four key areas:

Unlike ESG funds that aim to limit negative impacts and financial risks, we turn the tables and only partner with start-ups that have a positive impact baked into their DNA.

Contributing to an economy within the planetary boundaries

We believe in the close collaboration of entrepreneurs and scientists to create an economy within the planetary boundaries.

Scientists have identified nine quantitative planetary boundaries within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive for generations to come. Crossing these boundaries increases the risk of generating large-scale abrupt or irreversible environmental changes. The present estimate is that four of the nine boundaries have been transgressed, possibly six.

Destruction of habitats, pollution, resource depletion, and the climate crisis must all be urgently tackled. But how do we know what is a solution and what is greenwashing? Time and resources are limited, it is key that we use them on the biggest levers. That is why scientific impact measurement is not just nice to have but imperative on our way forward.

Pioneering scientific impact measurement

As the first European VC we have a scientific team on board to do rigorous, quantifiable, scientific assessments of the environmental impact of a startup.

Prior to an investment, we conduct life cycle assessments (LCAs) that calculate the overall environmental impact of a start-up. We anchored impact in every step of our investment process: After the first screening we quantify the impact of a start-up`s innovative product or service: We assess the environmental impacts associated with all stages of a product’s life — from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use phase to end-of-life.

Our assessments include changes to existing supply chains or market participants to provide a full picture of the environmental impacts. We relate the results to reference products or services and can thus accurately determine how much better the start-up`s innovation is. Our approach allows us to not only evaluate greenhouse gas emissions, but also to determine plastic, water, and land-use footprints.

We not only make environmental impact a key metric of our decisions, we also set impact KPIs for all our portfolio companies and tie our carried interest to achieving these impact objectives.

Making impact investing the new normal

We see ourselves as a collaborative player: we want to share what we understand and learn. That is why we publish our scientific studies on our portfolio companies.

Read more on our methodology here.
Read more on our insights here.