Rob Kaplan, CEO of Circulate Capital

Singapore-based climate-tech fund Circulate Capital today announced a US$14 million first close of its new VC fund, called Circulate Capital Disrupt (CCD).

CCD, a companion strategy to the US$106 million Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF-I), will invest in targeted innovations in materials and deep technology solutions to combat plastic waste and advance the circular economy.

In addition, CCD will participate in select, high-growth investment opportunities across the waste management and recycling value chain in South and Southeast Asia, alongside CCOF I that prevent plastic pollution by the tons and have a climate impact.

Circulate Capital Disrupt will benefit from the pipeline, diligence, and portfolio management systems of the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund – including impact measurement and inclusion of a gender lens. It will announce its inaugural investments later this summer.

“It’s time for Circulate Capital to strengthen our strategy to fight ocean plastic by also investing upstream to capture a range of exciting investment opportunities at the nexus of climate-tech and plastics that can help us take recycling into the next century,” said Rob Kaplan, CEO and founder of Circulate Capital.

Also Read: Lack of visibility, track record deter VCs from investing in firms combating plastic pollution: Rob Kaplan of Circulate Capital

“The new fund leverages our partnerships with leading corporations and the existing Asia-based portfolio to invest and scale disruptive technologies that have the potential to deliver outsized financial and impact returns. Applying climate-tech innovations to the plastics crisis may be the key to finally stemming the tide, and presents climate-focused investors with the potential for meaningful financial and impact outcomes,” he added.

Circulate Capital is an investment management firm financing high-growth opportunities at the nexus of climate-tech and plastics, recycling and the circular economy. It aims to deploy catalytic capital in partnership with leading corporations and investors to scale solutions that advance the circular economy and prevent the flow of plastic waste into the ocean in South and Southeast Asia.

By broadening the scope of its investment focus with the new fund, Circulate Capital will accelerate its mission of developing a circular economy for plastic.

Its four unique investment theses are:

1- Innovative materials: Reduce carbon footprints by rethinking the materials a product is made from and at the same time improve circular outcomes. For example, bio-based solutions for conventional plastic packaging or textile fibers.

Also Read: Sustainability: the new business reality

2- Delivery Models: Reimagine how a product can be consumed or delivered. For example, think of a next generation bottle of laundry detergent where you can get a refill from a vending machine, and it comes in a design that can be reused multiple times.

3- Advanced recycling tech for fully circular recycling at the molecular level: This is all about recycling technologies at the end of use of plastics by breaking the waste back down to its original inputs.

For example, circulatecapital.comrecycling your mixed textiles (e.g. cotton-poly blend t-shirts) back down into cotton and the building blocks of polyester for new clothes.

4- Deep technologies that apply big data and artificial intelligence to expand circular supply chains. Examples are an AI image recognition and recycling sorting technology company or one that is digitising logistics to improve efficiency and circularity at a global scale. The more efficient these value chains, the less waste and the lower their carbon intensity.

Announced in October 2018, the impact VC firm formed Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF) with US$106 million raised from several large corporate partners and Limited Partners, including PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Danone, Dow, Procter & Gamble and Unilever, and backed by USAID.

In under three years, the CCOF invested about US$40 million in seven companies across the region.

In an interview with e27 in February, Kaplan said that companies combating plastic pollution/other environmental issues don’t get due attention from the VC community.

Image Credit: Circulate Capital

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