Verdane launches Europe's largest growth impact fund
Fund Idun I to invest EUR 300 million in technology-enabled companies that contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals
Verdane, the European specialist growth equity investor, has announced that it has held a final close on Verdane Idun I (“Idun” or “the Fund”), an impact focused fund investing in technology-enabled businesses based out of Europe. The Fund is classified as “Article 9” under the European Union’s Finance Disclosure Regulation and closed at its hard cap of €300 million, over its target fund size of €225 million. With Idun, Verdane continues to demonstrate its commitment to driving positive impact through investments in ambitious companies whose impact scales with business growth.
The Fund has already made three investments: in Auntie, a digital provider of workplace wellbeing services; in Spond, a digital enabler of grassroot sports and physical health; and in a third business that contributes to a low-carbon society, to be announced in the next few weeks.
Bjarne Kveim Lie, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Verdane commented: “We are delighted and humbled by the strong support from existing and new investors for Idun and would like to thank them for putting their trust in us. Today more than ever, there is a growing pool of opportunities to combine technology and sustainability, and we believe that investors like Verdane can take a leading role by supporting founders and management teams who can truly integrate sustainability into their business models and create value through impact. The success of the Idun fundraise reflects the continued development of the firm, and we are excited by the unique opportunities available to us on this journey to drive positive impact with our investments.”
The Fund counts leading institutions among its investors, including Nysnø Climate Investments, Norway’s state climate investment fund, AP3, one of Sweden’s main national pension funds, Adams Street Partners, a private markets investment management firm, and clients advised by Mercer.
Building on Verdane’s proven track record of investing in European tech-enabled sustainable businesses, Idun will make investments focused on driving impact in three clusters: energy transition; sustainable consumption; and resilient communities. The Fund will leverage technology to significantly scale portfolio companies’ impact, and Verdane’s background as a growth investor means the firm is uniquely positioned as a leader in this space.
Every investment that Idun makes will have to meet both financial and elevated impact criteria, with impact defined as addressing at least one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and qualifying inside Verdane’s proprietary impact framework, built on the Impact Management Project. At the portfolio level, each Idun portfolio company will regularly report on bespoke sustainability KPIs and both the Fund’s ‘carried interest’ and credit facility are linked to goal attainment. The credit facility is issued by Nordea.
Idun received strong investor support from Verdane’s existing pool of LPs and is made up by a majority of institutional capital, including endowments, family offices and pensions funds.
Idun’s dedicated team combines entrepreneurial and impact investment experience and will be integrated with Verdane’s wider platform of over 90 investment professionals and its team of operational experts, Verdane Elevate, to create value and drive impact in the portfolio. The Fund is headed by partners Christian Jebsen and Erik Osmundsen, who will work alongside directors Reed Snyder and Karin Kans, and Sustainability Lead Axel Elmqvist.
Christian Jebsen, Partner at Verdane commented: “As we enter 2022 and announce the final close of Idun, we are seeing a very strong pipeline of potential investment opportunities across Northwestern Europe, as demonstrated by the Fund’s early deployments into three compelling and ambitious new portfolio companies. We believe that sustainability is an increasingly competitive strategy, especially as the growth and private equity industry is steadily moving towards a more impact-driven mindset. As both a technology and sustainability growth partner, Verdane is strongly positioned to add value and scale its partner businesses, and we look forward to working alongside management teams to drive positive impact.”
Verdane is one of the most active growth equity investors in Northwestern Europe, having completed 17 investments, of which four were portfolio deals, in 2021. Idun will sit alongside Verdane’s existing strategies, Capital and Edda, and represents an important initiative for the firm. The Fund will develop leading-edge, best practice frameworks and toolkits within the impact space that will help Verdane’s teams drive value across all of its strategies.