Actor and producer Robert Downey Jr. has announced the launch of venture funds focused on investing in technologies that are addressing the world’s largest environmental challenges such as climate change.
The Footprint Coalition Ventures will initially comprise of two funds – one for early-stage and the other for late-stage investments, with six investment areas of focus: sustainability-focused consumer products and services; food and agriculture technology; materials and industrial technology; energy and transportation; education and media; and advanced environmental solutions.
The venture funds are part of Footprint Coalition, a project announced by the Iron Man and Avengers star in 2019, which also includes a non-profit arm that supports early scientific research and a storytelling component that produces content about sustainable technologies.
The funds have already invested in five companies, including Arcadia Earth, a next-gen exhibition and extended reality experience with a mission to positively impact the planet through environmental storytelling and Cloud Paper, a tree-free paper products company on a mission to save a billion trees.
Other companies include RWDC Industries, a biotech firm developing innovative and cost-effective materials that completely break down to water and CO2, leaving no trace; Ÿnsect, a producer of natural insect protein and fertilisers; as well as Aspiration, a neobank which offers 100% clean, socially-conscious and sustainable cash management services and investment products.
The fund aims to leverage the actor’s creative team and knack for storytelling to help portfolio companies reach a highly engaged audience.
Mr Downey Jr. said: “Having spent the last 18 months in dialogue with scientists, engineers and technologists, I now have a firm grasp of the obvious: this global existential threat is not something that’s going to be solved by a smattering of elite mega-corporations. I think that paradigm must be smashed in favour of innovation by a broad set of new companies.
“Investment in sustainable technology is a critical pathway toward the discovery and scaling of better solutions for our planet. We need to mobilise more people and catalyse more capital. Thus – FootPrint Coalition Ventures, a group of investors, technologists and storytellers committed to scaling enviro-tech solutions.”