Fairtree launches European growth equity fund, Fairtree Elevant Ventures to invest into green-tech scale-ups


Fairtree, the award-winning investment manager with €6B assets under management across operations in South Africa, Europe and the UK, has announced the launch of its European growth equity fund, called Fairtree Elevant Ventures. The fund, based in Leiden in the Netherlands, has already signed partnerships with Maxwell and Spark – a green energy business producing the first commercial battery electric truck refrigeration system in the world and Cargoroo, the Dutch electric cargo bike ride-sharing company; that latter whose deal was part of a €4million fundraising round that will be used to expand Cargoroo’s fleet and operations, with further funding lined up. 

Speaking about its entrance into the market, Managing Director David Evans says the fund will focus specifically in “consumer and industrial sectors that are being transformed by technology, changing consumer behaviours and meeting sustainability demands.”

Winner of European Start-up Prize for Mobility 2019 and an Interreg North-West Europe grant, Cargoroo is the largest cargo bike share platform in the Netherlands with the number of rides, growing 30% month-on-month.

“With approximately 60% of vehicle trips less than 8kms, about 50% of these trips are well solved by cargo bike solutions,” says Evans. “One just has to look at the current fuel crisis in the UK to understand that we seriously need to look at alternative, cleaner and more efficient ways of travelling and Cargoroo solves for this. The company already has been allocated licences for 9 more European cities as well as in the UK, so we expect massive growth in the business in the months and years to come.”

Maxwell and Spark is also addressing transportation needs, but with their sights set on electrifying the four million refrigerated trailers on the road globally. “Transport and logistics alone accounts for 24% of global CO2 emissions, with 29% of that driven by road freight transport,” continues Evans. “The Maxwell and Spark systems deliver a 75-100% carbon dioxide emissions reduction, saving 20-25 tons per annum of CO2 per trailer, while also generating a 90% reduction in operating cost and a 50-60% lifetime cost savings for the operator.”

With the refrigerated trucking market worth over €4 billion per annum, Evans says the capital from Fairtree Elevant Ventures will be used to expand operations in Europe.

The Fairtree Elevant Ventures team has an extensive track record of investing in and building successful businesses in Europe, the US and in South Africa and will act as a growth accelerator, investing in businesses with talented founder teams and the potential to rapidly scale.

“I know full well what an emotional rollercoaster the entrepreneurial journey is, which is why we aim to be more than simply a funder,” concludes Evans, “We want to partner with businesses for the long-term, providing a second home and a community, as we work together to accelerate businesses which we believe will create a huge and lasting impact.”

Kobus Nel, CEO of Fairtree, says that they’ve wanted to launch a fund in the global private equity space for some time to complement their successful hedge funds, long-only funds and real-estate investments. “We’re excited about the opportunities in Europe to invest in scaling businesses in these transforming sectors, and look forward to the partnership as we expand on the continent and beyond.”

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