The start-ups driving Circular Fashion in Europe

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Paris-based sustainable fashion company Vestiaire Collective just announced to have reached unicorn status in its new €178 million round, making it the latest European start-up to join the exclusive club. The second-hand fashion marketplace has experienced rapid growth over the last three years and has already made its way into the United States and Asia Pacific markets. The growth was certainly accelerated to some degree by the pandemic which favored digital solutions. But more importantly, Vesitaire Collective was early to capture on the material and deep-rooted shift in consumer interest towards sustainability. And this is not limited to buying and selling pre-owned clothing: especially younger consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental and social impacts of the fashion industry, demanding among others more sustainable and longer lasting products and better end-of-life solutions.

Indeed, we can’t neglect that the fashion industry has a broader sustainability issue: already before the pandemic, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles was landfilled or burned globally every second. This has likely increased further over the past months as shops are closed and unsold clothing piles up in fashion and textile warehouses. Furthermore, less than 1% of products are recycled into new garments and despite efforts by some players 12% of fiber is lost in production (Source). Not to forget that in some production facilities, garment workers toil 16 hours per day earning a fifth of the minimum wage required for a decent life.

10% of global carbon emissions are calculated to stem from fashion today. This could increase to up to 25% in 2050.

On a positive note, there are already several companies who strive to move the fashion industry away from the take-make-waste thinking towards circular strategies which respect all three pillars of the Triple Top Line: economic growth, environmental impact, and social equality. (Read more about the Triple Top Line idea here). Accenture estimates that circularity holds an economic value potential of $30-90 billion for the fashion industry. Indeed, it could become the biggest disruptor to the industry over the next decade.

At MVP, our focus is on partnering up with start-ups that have the potential to transform value chains and drive change in the most CO2 intensive and pollutive industries. And we see that alongside Vesitaire Collective, an entire ecosystem of start-ups has emerged in Europe that have this potential. They are developing bio-degradable raw materials, bringing transparency to the supply chain, enhancing the lifetime of clothes with rental or second-hand platforms, or recapturing raw materials from non-reusable products.

To provide an insight on our view of the industry, we want to share this (non-exhaustive) map of European Circular Fashion start-ups. It includes companies in very early development stages as well as more established players that have already raised significant amounts of funding. We want it to be a source of inspiration, collaboration, and a starting point for discussions.

Let us know what you think about the landscape and who is missing.

Circular Fashion Landscape

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Julian is Investment Associate at Munich Venture Partners. While he is not a fashion specialist nor known for an outstanding dressing style, he has great interest in the field of Circular Economy and sustainable consumption in general. With this lens, he looks at different industries and sectors. Feel free to contact him via LinkedIn.


asgoodasnew secures new funding

asgoodasnew snaps new funding to accelerate the
re-commerce revolution in high-tech consumer electronics

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Berlin, December, 11 2020

asgoodasnew, the Berlin-based European re-commerce leader specialising in high-tech consumer electronics, has announced a new  financing round led by Northern European specialist growth investor Verdane. Exisiting investors Munich Venture Partners, Brandenburg Capital, and pd ventures also participated in the round.

The investment will support asgoodasnew’s successful business development and further international expansion, drawing on Verdane’s extensive knowledge of the European re-commerce space and experience from over 30 previous e-commerce investments. To date, asgoodasnew has helped over 1,000,000 customers throughout Europe to impact their ecological footprint by finding a new home for their preloved gadgets or helping them purchase a fully tested, refurbished device. Powered by this change in consumers’ perception and behaviour, asgoodasnew’s revenues have grown by more than 150% over the past 5 years.

Daniel Boldin, CEO of asgoodasnew said: “With Verdane onboard, we will strengthen our pioneering position in European consumer electronics re-commerce as the preferred supplier for high-tech gadgets, tested and reconditioned in Germany. The take, make and dispose model for consumer electronics is going to perish. There is a huge and environmentally impactful business opportunity in enabling consumers to extend the lifecycle of their beloved high-tech gadgets. asgoodasnew’s success shows that it is possible to combine a circular business model with double-digit profitable growth and high capital efficiency.”

Founded in 2008, asgoodasnew operates in Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Italy and Poland. According to the company’s calculations, each of its more than one million reconditioned and resold iPhones, laptops, tablets, cameras, smartwatches and wifi speakers sold save up to 50kgs of CO2 compared to new production of a corresponding gadget, tallying to a total potential CO2 savings impact of 50,000 tonnes of CO2 to date. By partnering with Verdane, the company aims to offer more customers a smart and affordable way to impact their individual ecological footprint.

The company’s integrated consumer-to-business-to-consumer (C2B2C) business model covers the entire value chain of the re-commerce market from sourcing and testing to refurbishment and distribution, delivering a strong value proposition with high customer retention rates and independence from third parties. A popular feature is its comprehensive 30-month warranty, offered on all products since 2014 as a testament to asgoodasnew’s extensive technical know-how, and pioneered by the company since then on multiple European markets. Building on its early understanding of the need for a more sustainable approach for consumer electronics consumption and driven by short customer usage cycles resulting from frequent new product releases, asgoodasnew has emerged as a European leader for refurbished premium consumer electronics.

Maroje Guertl, Principal at Verdane said:We are proud to reaffirm Verdane’s commitment to a more resource-efficient future for the European consumer by welcoming asgoodasnew into the Verdane portfolio. Daniel and his team have done an excellent job of building asgoodasnew into a clear leader in its sector with a strong position from which it can develop into a substantially larger European market leader. There is natural complementarity with Verdane’s deep knowledge of the European re-commerce space from prior investments, and we are proud to partner with asgoodasnew on this journey toward circularity for the high-tech consumer electronics market.”

 

Thomas Krause, Chairman of the Advisory Board and Managing Director at Brandenburg Kapital, added: “On behalf of the board, we are very pleased to announce this partnership with Verdane as we set out to accelerate the successful European expansion of the company. We believe we have found the ideal growth partner to help realise our joint vision of asgoodasnew’s future together with Daniel and his team.”

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Prolupin extends its growth financing round

MVP portfolio company Prolupin, the innovative plant-based protein company based in Grimmen, Germany, today announced the extension of its groth financing round with the investment of the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund.

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The European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF) is a new pan-European fund that invests in growth companies in the bioeconomy and circular bioeconomy with equity and mezzanine financings. The ECBF is backed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) as the cornerstone investor and by Hauck & Aufhäuser Fund Services S.A. administered in Luxembourg. Backed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and managed by Hauck & Aufhäuser Fund Services S.A. in Luxembourg, ECBF is the first growth-fund fund exclusively dedicated to the bioeconomy in Europe that focus on catalyzes sustainable innovations.

Since the launch of its vegan brand Made with LUVE in 2015, Prolupin has enjoyed exceptional annual growth. The new financing now enables the company to address the mass market for further growth and international expansion.

In addition to the existing investors, Munich Venture Partners and eCAPITAL, the renowned investors Capricorn Partners and Novax have already participated in the financing round in spring.

The Capricorn Partners, Novax, and ECBF investment brings a broad mix of technology expertise and trade network resources to Prolupin as it seeks to grow its plant-based offerings from lupines both B2B and B2C, including the non-dairy yoghurts, milks, ice creams and cream cheeses on the European market under the vegan Made with LUVE brand.

 

“The ECBF funding will make an important contribution to accelerate the growth of Prolupin within B2B and B2C. The research & development, marketing and distribution we are now able to deploy over the coming years will put our unique Lupine Protein Isolate (LPI) as well as the vegan Made with LUVE brand center stage for customers and consumers aiming for a healthy, sustainable ingredient and lifestyle.”

Malte Stampe (CEO, Prolupin GmbH)

Reiner Kuester, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Prolupin, stressed: “We are pleased to welcome the ECBF and the expertise it brings to the Advisory Board. With its international network and its focus on sustainability, the ECBF can significantly contribute to strengthening Prolupin’s position as a strong player in the fast-growing market of plant-based foods.

Michael Brandkamp, Managing Partners at ECBF, says: ” Prolupin is a fast-growing plant-based protein company with its successfully established dairy-alternatives brand made with LUVE. The growth in consumer demand for healthier food with a reduced environmental footprint will be long-lasting. With its lupine-based protein Prolupin is well positioned to capture a significant share in this market and to contribute to making our societies more sustainable.”

The investment bank Bryan, Garnier & Co was appointed as exclusive financial advisor for the transaction.


Prolupin secures growth financing

Prolupin announces growth financing round led by

Capricorn Partners and Novax

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Prolupin, the innovative plant-based protein company based in Grimmen, Germany, today announced the first closing of a double digit million growth financing round which will enable the company to expand its B2B and B2C offerings. After exceptional year-on-year growth since market introduction of its vegan Made with LUVE brand in 2015, the new financing will allow Prolupin to address the mass market for further growth and international expansion. The round was led by Capricorn Partners, from its Capricorn Sustainable Chemistry Fund and on behalf of Quest for Growth, an independent manager of private and quoted equity funds that invest in minority shareholding positions of innovative companies with technology as competitive advantage and Novax, the Stockholm-based growth investor powered by the Swedish Axel Johnson family, hallmarked by their long-term commitments and prominent holdings within the food space. The round
was initiated by existing investors Munich Venture Partners and eCapital Entrepreneurial Partners, who joined and hired the investment bank Bryan, Garnier & Co as exclusive financial advisor on the transaction.

The Capricorn Partners and Novax investment brings a broad mix of technology expertise and trade network resources to Prolupin as it seeks to grow its plant-based offerings from lupines both B2B and B2C, including the non-dairy yoghurts, milks, ice creams and cream cheeses on the European market under the vegan Made with LUVE brand.

Malte Stampe, CEO of Prolupin commented “the addition of Capricorn and Novax to our team will enable us to accelerate the growth of Prolupin within B2B and B2C. The marketing and distribution we are now able to deploy over the coming years will put our unique Lupine Protein Isolate (LPI) as well as the vegan Made with LUVE brand center stage for customers and consumers aiming for a healthy, sustainable ingredient and lifestyle.”

Reiner Kuester, Chairman of the Supervisory Board said “we are delighted to welcome Capricorn and Novax and the expertise they bring to the board. This investment from industry experts further validates the potential of Prolupin to become a major player in plant-based foods.”

Yvette Go, Senior Investment Manager at Capricorn Partners added “we were attracted by the potential of this innovative plant-based protein company. And we are very impressed with Prolupin’s unique approach of successfully proving the application potential of lupine with the Made with LUVE brand. As investors in technology companies we are excited to join forces in supporting the growth of Prolupin’s business using its unique technology advantage to expand in both B2B and B2C markets.”

Pär Warnström, Senior Investment Manager at Novax added “we were impressed by Prolupin’s unique capability to process the potent lupine crop, and look forward to partner with Malte and the team on their journey towards becoming a pioneering leader in the field of healthy plant-based foods.”

 

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About Prolupin: Prolupin is a spin out from the  Fraunhofer-Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung (IVV) in Munich with deep scientific expertise and a patent protected process for producing protein isolates from lupines. The company produces and markets a range of purely plant-based non-dairy alternatives to yoghurts, milks, ice creams and cream cheeses to address the growing demand for tasty plant-based foods for consumers focused on health and sustainability. For further information contact Malte Stampe, CEO at ms@prolupin.de or www.prolupin.com and madewithluve.de

About Capricorn Partners: Capricorn Partners is an independent European manager of venture capital and equity funds, investing in innovative European companies with technology as competitive advantage. The investment team of Capricorn is composed of experienced investment managers with deep technology expertise and a broad industrial experience. Capricorn Partners is managing the venture capital funds Capricorn Sustainable Chemistry Fund, Capricorn Digital Growth Fund, Capricorn ICT Arkiv, Capricorn Health-tech Fund and Capricorn Cleantech Fund. In addition, it is the management company of Quest for Growth, quoted on NYSE Euronext Brussels, and the investment manager of Quest Cleantech Fund and Quest+, sub‐funds of Quest Management SICAV, registered in Luxembourg. Find more information at www.capricorn.be

About Quest for Growth: QUEST FOR GROWTH is a privak/pricaf, a public alternative investment fund (AIF) with fixed capital under Belgian law, managed by Capricorn Partners NV. The diversified portfolio of Quest for Growth is for the most part invested in growth companies listed on European stock exchanges, in European unquoted companies and in venture capital funds. Quest for Growth focuses on innovative companies in areas such as digital technologies (ICT), technologies for the healthcare sector (Health-tech) and clean technology (Cleantech). Quest for Growth has been listed on Euronext Brussels since 23 September 1998. Find more information at www.questforgrowth.com/en

About Novax: A long-term investor and partner to fast-growing businesses across Europe with strong teams, sector-leading positions and high-impact potential. Founded in 1999 and based in Stockholm, Novax is a part of the Swedish Axel Johnson Group. Investments include Academic Work, ApoEx, Bruce, Filippa K, Hedvig, Matsmart, Leeroy, RCO, STC and Voyado. Through our long-term and thesis-driven devotion to a limited number of sectors, we are committed to support pioneering businesses on their journeys toward market-leadership over the long-haul. Find more information under www.axeljohnson.se/bolag/novax

About eCAPITAL: eCAPITAL entrepreneurial Partners AG is a Münster-based alternative investment fund manager (AIFM) in accordance with EU-directive EuVECA. As a leading German venture capital firm, eCAPITAL has supported innovative entrepreneurs in future-oriented industries since 1999. The firm focuses on rapidly growing companies in the areas of Software / IT, Cleantech, Industry 4.0 and New Materials. Currently, eCAPITAL manages six funds with a total of 220 million euros under management. Find more information under www.ecapital.de/en

About Munich Venture Partners: Munich Venture Partners is a European venture capital investor backing entrepreneurs driving the eco-industrial revolution with transformative technologies. The investment focus is on sectors with CO2 emission-intensive value chains: energy, mobility, agriculture and food, and industrial technologies. MVP has more than 15 years of experience investing in cleantech start-ups across Europe, including investments in recent success cases relayr and sonnen. Find more information under http://www.munichvp.com

About Bryan, Garnier & Co: Bryan, Garnier & Co is a European, full-service growth-focused independent investment banking partnership founded in 1996. The firm provides equity research, sales and trading, private and public capital raising as well as M&A services to growth companies and their investors. It focuses on key growth sectors of the economy including Technology, Healthcare, Consumer and Business Services. Bryan, Garnier & Co is a fully registered broker dealer authorized and regulated by the FCA in Europe and the FINRA in the U.S. Bryan, Garnier & Co is headquartered in London, with additional offices in Paris, Munich, Stockholm, Oslo, Reykjavik as well as New York and Palo Alto. The firm is a member of the London Stock Exchange. Find more information under www.bryangarnier.com

GreenCom Networks

time to shine

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MVP portfolio company GreenCom Networks is acquiring shine, founded by the innogy Innovation Hub. shine made its name by building up energy management services for residential customers. The start-up already utilizes GreenCom’s Energy Information Brokerage Platform and has expanded GreenCom’s services with an array of services including shine energy check, shineSmart, and shineHub.

GreenCom will integrate shine’s end-customer base and services into its energy IoT platform. This will allow GreenCom to offer end-to-end services on top of its technology platform, which allows integration of solar PV, batteries, heat pumps or electric vehicles from various manufacturers. GreenCom plans to demonstrate disruptive services for residential customers that go beyond today’s flat-rate or energy community offerings in the market. Those lessons will be used to support GreenCom’s utility partners and device manufacturers to speed up the transition towards a future energy world.

Click here to read more


What's "driving the eco-industrial revolution" about?

Climate change has entered a new phase. Alarming signals of an ever more rapid change in the biosphere are increasing. And scientists highlight that earth may have already passed several climate change tipping points which has irreversible effects, such as the loss of the Amazon rainforest and the great ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland.  At the same time, it is becoming a decisive political factor with hundreds of thousands of young people pioneering a new extra-parliamentary climate opposition.

 

…it’s about decoupling economic growth from environmental pollution

As the world’s population is rising to over 9 billion people in 2050, countries of the South and the East are becoming increasingly industrialized, and cities continue to grow, global economic output will roughly double in the next 30 years. Over the same period, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will have to fall dramatically in order to reach the GHG reduction targets set by governments. For the EU, the binding target is a cut by at least 40% compared to 1990 levels by 2030. This puts a great burden on the economy. However, the question is not whether the global economy will continue to grow. The key question is whether we can decouple value creation from environmental pollution.

The recipe is nothing less than a new industrial revolution with an impact similar to the invention of the steam engine, industrial steal making, or the automobile: the eco-industrial revolution.

In essence, it is about a threefold transformation of the old industrial society: firstly, a complete shift from fossil energy sources to renewable energies; secondly, a continuous increase in resource efficiency to generate more value from fewer raw materials and energy; and thirdly, the transition to a circular economy in which the productivity of resources is increased.

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…it’s about fostering the transformative power of technology

Similar as the first industrial revolution was triggered by the invention of the stream engine, also the eco-industrial revolution will be driven by technological innovations and their expansion. However, this time, we require technologies that allow a rethinking of existing value chains to reduce CO2 emissions along the entire process of value creation.

At MVP, we call such technologies that (I) improve, (II) enhance, or (III) reconstruct existing value chains Transformative Technologies. They trigger fundamental changes and paradigm shifts in existing business areas in short time frames. To some degree, Transformative Technologies can also be viewed as disruptive. However, rather than the disruptive “destroy and build new” approach, Transformative Technologies may also enable developing new enhanced solutions using existing infrastructure whenever possible. They are the basis for shaping the future and have an extraordinary growth potential. Identifying these opportunities and financing appropriate technologies and solutions is one of the strategic cornerstones of MVP’s Venture Capital investment approach.

…it’s about leveraging total value potential

Our focus is on driving change in the most CO2 intensive sectors and financing businesses that can have a huge impact in achieving decarbonization of the incumbent industry. To make it clear: it’s not about limiting economic growth in favor of ecological sustainability. We are firmly convinced that economic growth and ecological sustainability are not tradeoffs, but in contrast mutually reinforcing factors. With investments in companies like sonnen we were able to verify this thesis in the past. Even more, companies and business models, which do not take into account ecological responsibility, will not be successful anymore or disappear completely.

Therefore, we integrate the concept of Triple Top Line value creation in our investment strategy to leverage the full transformative potential of a technology. Rather than balancing economical, ecological and societal targets, this approach focuses on employing their dynamic interplay to generate value. (Read more about our Triple Top Line strategy here)

Driving the industrial revolution is the core philosophy of our investment approach. In fact, that’s what we’ve been doing at MVP for over 15 years now. With this experience and the capital entrusted to us, we back pioneering entrepreneurs and become sparring partners for ambitious teams to create the business leaders of tomorrow.