January 15, 2021

Europe’s top climate tech investors

These are the most impactful climate VC investors, according to Climate 50, a new initiative by Contrarian Ventures.

Connor Bilboe

3 min read

Rokas Peciulaitis, founding and managing partner Contrarian Ventures

European investors have already kicked off 2021 with a strong focus on sustainability, as Sifted predicted

Swedish impact investor Norrsken Foundation announced a new eight-week impact accelerator, Swiss agritech startup Vivent raised a multi-million euro Series A round from Astanor Ventures’ $325m impact fund and Stockholm-based ‘green’ last-mile delivery startup Budbee raised €52m with participation from VC firm Kinnevik.

There are now more European investors than ever pumping capital into businesses aspiring to drive positive change for people and the planet, especially in the realm of climate tech. But just who are they?


Today, Lithuanian VC firm Contrarian Ventures has launched Climate 50, an annual ranking that aims to recognise the most impactful climate VC investors across the globe.

Rokas Peciulaitis, founding partner at Contrarian tells Sifted that now is the perfect time to release a ‘Midas List’ list for climate VCs: ”The world’s carbon budget is running out fast and there is no [planet] B.”

The world’s carbon budget is running out fast and there is no [planet] B.

The list’s methodology takes into account the investment activity of investors — such as the number of investments into new climate tech companies in a time period — and non-investment activities like brand awareness. 

It will also factor in the results of a public vote. People can upvote investors of their choice (one fund up to five times a day). Once public voting closes, the list will be reduced from the 135 Contrarian-nominated funds today to a final list of top 50 climate investors, which will be released in March.

Peciulaitis says that the ranking isn’t just another “pat on the shoulders for investors”. Instead, it’s there to educate entrepreneurs, limited partners and other investors. “We want to build a dynamic list that goes beyond the ranking, by defining what a great investor is in the [climate] space, so entrepreneurs can learn what these funds focus on,” he tells Sifted.

He adds that this is the first step of a “key master plan”, and Contrarian will release an in-depth annual report on global VC investment in climate some time in the future.

So which European climate investors have been nominated for the Climate 50 ranking? See them below.

Top 10 European climate investors

  • High-Tech Gründerfonds, a German VC investing in early-stage startups in the fields of industrial technology, digital tech, life sciences and chemistry.
  • Next47, the corporate investment arm of global technology conglomerate Siemens. The corporate investor is sector agnostic.
  • Aster, a French venture capital firm funding startups in the energy, mobility and industry 4.0 sectors.
  • ETF Partners, a UK-based growth stage investor looking for investment opportunities in energy, industry and smart cities.
  • Demeter Partners, a Paris-based growth stage VC with a focus in the energy sector.
  • Shell Ventures, the strategic investment vehicle of oil and gas giant Shell, with a focus on oil and gas, renewable energy, new fuels for transport, connected mobility and freight, or digital.
  • BP Ventures, the corporate investment arm of oil and gas company BP. It focuses on advanced mobility, bio and low carbon products, carbon management, digital transformation and power and storage.
  • Future Energy Ventures, the corporate investment affiliate of energy company e.on. Its focus is energy.
  • Emerald Technology Ventures, a Zurich-based cleantech VC with a wide sector focus, including energy, water, industrial IT, advanced materials, mobility, robotics and agriculture.
  • Norrsken VC, the Stockholm-based venture capital arm of the Norrsken Foundation, an impact startups initiative. The VC remains sector agnostic, investing in all kinds of early-stage startups that are impact driven.