British Media group Sky backs £100m Planet Fund for start-ups developing climate-related technology as London Tech Week brings focus to UK tech sector
Media group Sky is to back a new £100 million investment fund to support start-ups developing climate-related technology, in a move announced to coincide with the beginning of London Tech week.
The fund, set up by entrepreneur Brent Hoberman’s Founders Factory, is to be chaired by Sir Ian Cheshire, chair of Channel 4, and is to include on its board a panel of climate scientists such as Professor Richard Templer and Professor Cameron Hepburn to help guide its investment planning.
The new Planet Fund is to raise £100m to back early-stage climate start-ups and will launch with a portfolio of existing stakes in about 25 start-ups from a previous Sky investment fund, Sky Ocean Ventures, set up in 2018 with a £25m investment from Sky.
Planet Fund is also to be given the proceeds from the sale of paper bottle maker Choose Packaging to Hewlett-Packard, in which Sky Ocean Ventures had a stake.
Founders Factory chief executive Henry Lane Fox is to operate Planet Fund with Jamie Rowles, former head of investments at Sky Ocean Ventures.
The initiative said it would provide start-ups with support from partners such as Ovo Energy, Mindful Chef and ZeroAvia to help grow their businesses.
Founders Factory executive chair Hoberman, known for founding lastminute.com with Martha Lane Fox in 1998, said working with Sky would “allow us to invest in and nurture the best climate entrepreneurs”.
Speaking at London Tech Week digital secretary Nadine Dorries is expected to announce a new government strategy to boost the tech firms and help them create high-skilled jobs.
The government-backed Digital Economy Council on Monday released figures showing private British tech companies had a record £9bn quarter for venture-capital investments, growing to £12.4bn for the first five months of the year.
The first-quarter figure was double that raised by French companies and was higher than India and China.
But the value of venture deals in China slumped 44 percent in the first four months of this year, according to data firm Prequin, following a clampdown on the country’s tech sector and a zero-Covid strategy that has deterred investors.