Brandkamp presented the fund during EFIB 2020. He pointed out the significant growth in consumer awareness and the consequent increasing demand for sustainable products. At the same time, there are many private and public, European, national and regional initiatives to support entrepreneurs.
The ECBF focuses on innovative entrepreneurs who need to bridge the gap from TRL 5 to TRL 10: the scaling-up phase that often involves a significant capital requirement and at the same time high investment risks. As a result, they often cannot turn to traditional funds or banks, although interest in sustainable investments is also growing there.
The ECBF bridges this gap. However, it is required that the company meets the Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) criteria of the European Investment Bank (EIB). “We are strict about this, because companies that do not comply with these criteria pose a risk to investments.”
The ECBF has now raised € 82 million from public and private parties: the European Investment Bank EIB and three private investors. The fund thus helps two companies with capital for growth: Peel Pioneers from the Netherlands and Prolupin from Germany.
“We are looking for even more markets to invest in, in the EU 27 plus 17 associated countries. We focus on promising sectors, such as plant-based proteins, biobased packaging or building materials, specialties or textiles,” says Brandkamp. “Companies in which we invest must not only meet the ESG criteria, but also be commercially sound, because ultimately we are aiming for a return of 20% or more.
EFIB is the leading European conference for industrial biotechnology, which took place digitally this week. Next year, EFIB 2021 is expected to take place physically again, on October 6-7 in Vienna, Austria. For more information, see the EFIB website.