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  • Launch of the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF), the first equity fund exclusively dedicated to the bioeconomy and the circular bioeconomy in the EU and the Horizon 2020 Associated Countries.
  • The ECBF reached its first closing with €82 million to provide financing to innovative growth-stage companies and projects.
  • First investments made in PeelPioneers B.V., a Dutch company that creates value from food waste streams, and Prolupin GmbH, developer of plant-based protein and dairy-alternatives.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Commission and ECBF Management GmbH today announced the first closing of €82 million of the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF), the first equity fund exclusively focused on the bioeconomy and the circular bioeconomy in the EU and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries. With a target size of €250 million, ECBF is advised by ECBF Management GmbH with Hauck & Aufhäuser Fund Services S.A. Luxembourg as the AIFM (Alternative Investment Fund Manager).

The EIB, the fund’s anchor investor, invested an initial €65 million into the fund and has committed a total of €100 million to the fund, backed by InnovFin – EU finance for Innovators, an initiative of the EIB Group and the European Commission to facilitate access to finance for innovation and research through financing tools and advisory services. The remainder of the first closing was committed by private investors.

The new fund provides equity investment to innovative growth-stage bioeconomy and circular bioeconomy companies and projects. The ECBF aims to fill an important financing gap in this area by mobilising public and private investments to scale up innovative bio-based companies and projects with high potential for innovation and excellence.

The fund made its first investments in:

  • PeelPioneers, a Dutch company which uses a pioneering technology to turn waste from orange peels into essential oils, flavourings and fragrances, dietary fibre, and animal feed,
  • Prolupin, a producer of high-quality proteins which are turned into dairy alternatives, currently marketed in Germany under the brand name “Made with Luv”.

Ambroise Fayolle, EIB Vice-President, said: The European Green Deal gives a central role to the circular economy and to food systems in Europe’s transition to a climate-neutral society. The circular bioeconomy is particularly important for developing sustainable and low-carbon chemicals, materials, products and energy, but this will require scaling-up innovation and investments. The EIB is happy to join forces with the European Commission and private investors to launch the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund, Europe’s first equity fund dedicated entirely to cutting-edge bioeconomy projects.”

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “The Bioeconomy is essential to address the European Green Deal’s climate and environmental-related challenges. It has the potential to drive the competitiveness, sustainable growth and renewal of our industries and to modernise our primary production systems. To be successful, the European bioeconomy needs to have sustainability and circularity at its heart. But it also needs investments. I am very happy that today the European Commission together with the EIB and private investors, is launching the first dedicated fund to support innovative bioeconomy projects - the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund.”

Michael Brandkamp, Head of ECBF, said: “We appreciate the trust the European Commission, the EIB and the private LPs have given ECBF’s team. In a transforming economy, we invest and partner with ambitious and visionary entrepreneurs to accelerate growth-stage companies. Our fund will drive the scale-up of innovative bioeconomy companies to have a significant impact on sustainability thereby providing attractive returns for its investors. It will be a privilege and honour for us to play an active role in the European Bioeconomy´s ecosystem working together with other investors and pan-European as well as regional bioeconomy networks. Currently, we see significant interest in our fund which remains open for new investors until August 2021.”

Background information

The European Commission’s 2018 Bioeconomy Strategy highlights the role of the bioeconomy in tackling today's key environmental challenges. The bioeconomy includes primary production - such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture - and industries use or process biological resources, such as the food, pulp and paper industries and parts of the chemical, biotechnology and energy industries. Managed in a sustainable manner, bioeconomy can sustain a wide range of public goods, including biodiversity and ecosystem services, reduce the environmental footprint of primary production and the supply chain as a whole, increase competitiveness, provide jobs and contribute to rural development.

Circular bioeconomy is the application of the circular economy concept to biological resources, products and materials. The circular economy is an economy where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimised.

The 2017 Innovfin Advisory study Access-to-finance conditions for Investments in Bio-Based Industries and the Blue Economy identified an important financing gap for innovative bioeconomy projects at the stage where they enter demonstration or commercial phases. It recommended the creation of a risk-sharing financial instrument, leading the way to the creation of the ECBF.

InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators was launched by the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) in cooperation with the European Commission under the EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme Horizon 2020. It aims to facilitate access to finance for innovation and research through a wide range of financing tools and advisory services, and secure Europe's global competitiveness.

ECBF Management GmbH advises the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund exclusively. The international team of very experienced people focusses on supporting the bioeconomy companies to fuel their growth. With more than 40 years of investment experience and a significant network the ECBF´s team will play an active role in scaling up the investments.