Nordic real estate fund manager NREP has launched a venture capital firm to invest in technologies related to sustainable property development.
The company, called 2150, aims to speed up the urban environment’s green transition and has secured €130m for its first fund from investors including Chr Augustinus Fabrikker, Novo Holdings and Denmark’s state-owned Green Future Fund.
Mikkel Bülow-Lehnsby, chairman of NREP and founding partner of 2150, said: “The scientific consensus is clear: The world cannot achieve the necessary reductions of CO2 emissions without fundamental changes to how we build and operate real estate.”
At the same time, he said, the real estate industry could not deliver the required reductions without better technological solutions.
“We are launching 2150 to accelerate the development and adoption of such technologies,” Bülow-Lehnsby said.
The fund’s first investment is in Canadian clean-tech company CarbonCure, which aims to reduce CO2 emissions from concrete production by 500 million tonnes every year.
CarbonCure injects recycled CO2 into fresh concrete, removing CO2 emissions from industrial gas companies while also making the concrete stronger and reducing the amount of concrete needed in construction.
The 2150 fund will aim to build a portfolio of about 20 companies, each of which have the potential to become ‘gigacorns’ – commercially successful firms with the potential to reduce or mitigate gigatons of CO2, according to NREP.
NREP is targeting €200m of third-party capital for the total, although Claus Mathisen, NREP’s CEO, told IPE Real Assets that it does not rule out extending this amount if there is demand.
The formation of the new operation, which will be based in London, Copenhagen, and Berlin, has been led by Bülow-Lehnsby and co-founding partners of 2150 Christian Hernandez, an experienced VC and former Facebook executive, Jacob Bro, former chief product officer of Rocket Internet and Christian Jølck, former chair of the board of the sustainability organization SYNERGI.
Mathisen told IPE Real Assets his firm had been working on the new venture for almost two years, with fundraising beginning about six months ago.
“We’ve found the best team and built it up where we think the opportunity set is the biggest,” he said.
Looking ahead, Mathiesen says NREP envisions multiple extensions to the concept and hopes to raise subsequent funds.
Capital raised for 2150 will enable more new real estate technological advances to come to market, he said.
“NREP is driven by its purpose to improve the built environment, and we want to push innovation in what we see as a relatively laggard industry,” he said, adding that 2150 was an extension of NREP’s purpose.
Among similar funds already on the market, he said, the Los Angeles-headquartered venture capital firm Fifth Wall, which has been active for six years, was the most directly comparable fund.
Though this US fund had provided inspiration for the creation of 2150, Mathiesen said, NREP was keen that its new initiative did not become too focused on corporate venturing, and saw 2150 primarily as a front-runner in the field of sustainable real estate technological innovation.
“We are trying to marry the best of both worlds, which is complex,” he said.