New $400M PE Fund Launched to Focus on Asia Cleantech

Through a partnership between Asian Development Bank, ORIX, and Robeco a new Hong Kong-based fund was launched on Aug. 4 to invest in cleantech, resource efficiency, agriculture, forestry, and water startups across Asia.

The new private equity fund will be called Asia Capital Partners and will be capitalized with an initial $400 million from its founding firms, according to a statement by ORIX, a Tokyo-based finance and leasing company. The Netherland’s Robeco Institutional Asset Management will act as investment manager of the fund.

Other New Venture Funds Focused on Asia Cleantech

In July, GSR Ventures and Oak Investment Partners partnered to launch G-O Scale Capital, an independent fund for investing in clean technology companies — especially ones that can scale in China. The firms are seeking $500 million for the fund, $150 million of which is already committed.

Beijing-based GSR Ventures invests in early and growth stage technology companies with substantial operations in China.  They also have offices in Hong Kong and Palo Alto, CA, and their website lists 19  “Green Tech” investments.

Oak Investment Partners has offices in Greenwich, CT, Minneapolis, MN and Palo Alto, CA. and their website lists eight “Clean Energy” investments.

And, in January, longtime cleantech venture investor Matthew Nordan left VC firm Venrock, which was scaling back its cleantech focus, to launch MNL Partners, a developer of clean energy and environmental projects focused on China.

According MNL’s website, the new firm will focus on developing partnerships between U.S. cleantech startups and Chinese firms focused on adopting and acquiring clean technologies.

Nordan was joined in setting up the new firm by Chivas Lam, a former Qiming venture partner, and Greg Manuel, a former SVP at Amyris. The company has offices in Shanghai, Boston, and San Francisco.

According to Nordan’s blog last summer, he noted, that although most cleantech innovation is happening in the U.S., “most adoption will be in growth economies building new infrastructure – with China at the top of the list. Chinese incumbents like Wanxiang, Shenhua, and ENN are scouring the west for technologies to pick up.”

He also noted some key trends from a survey he conducted of U.S. cleantech startups looking to enter the China market, concluding that the majority of U.S. cleantech firms are setting up distribution partnerships and JVs to enter China, and, Intellectural property (IP) protection topped the list of concerns for U.S. cleantech startups entering China.

In December 2012, cleantech venture capital firm Chrysalix set up operations in China by joining forces with Beijing-based Grand River Capital to form “GRC Chrysalix” to make investments in Asia. Said Eric Wang, managing partner of GRC Chrysalix, “With China investing in green technologies at a pace three times that of the rest of the world, and with so many North American and European cleantech companies requiring effective Asian strategies, it made sense to join forces.”  The company lists nine active investments.

And, in early 2012, private equity firm Hudson Clean Energy Partners announced plans to invest $794 billion in China’s cleantech market over the next 5 years. During that same year, Hudson invested $55 million in Beijing-based GSE Investment for a minority stake in the waste-to-energy water treatment company.


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