Posted November 10, 2022 at 8:35 am
Impact funds are proliferating around the world. But there are few who are 100% dedicated to one vertical. Shift4good has made this choice and just closed one the fund endowed with 100 million euros dedicated to sustainable mobility . A first step toward a “250 to 300 million” closing is expected “within 12 to 18 months.”
The transport sector alone accounts for 17% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. A figure that rises to 31% in France . Disruptive innovations and a modal shift to less carbon-intensive modes will therefore not do much to reverse the trend.
Shift4good was launched by four mobility and venture capital specialists: Matthieu de Chanville (ex Aliance Ventures), Sébastien Guillaud (ex Hera Capital), Yann Marteil (ex Via ID) and Thierry de Panafieu (Hera Capital).
Between Europe and Asia
This new investment vehicle, which has offices in Paris and Singapore, will focus its attention on Western Europe and Southeast Asia, and is interested in all areas of mobility – automotive, urban mobility, rail, marine, etc.
“We want to place tickets from 3 to 20 million euros in series A and B”, explains Yann Marteil. The fund also reserves a small pocket for seed operations in case of deadlock of high-potential young shoots. “All the boxes that we will support must meet three criteria: the intentionality of the impact, the additionality of the impact and its measurability”, continues Yann Marteil.
In addition, the fund has created an impact committee consisting of three external personalities: Tima Bansal, Janet Sarah Neo, Rodolphe Durand. The latter is responsible for ensuring that investments meet the impact criteria. “We are looking for winning models,” slips Yann Marteil, who is pleased with the spread of mobility projects around the world.
The first two investments
The four partners have already gone on the offensive, taking a stake in EyeLights (an investment of €3 million). This start-up, located near Toulouse, has developed a technology that works with a nano led that projects navigation information onto the windshield cars and, in virtual reality, on the road. The goal is to increase driver safety by encouraging them to look straight ahead instead of keeping their eyes glued to their smartphone or dashboard.
“In recent years, the trend has been to create ever larger screens in cars,” notes Matthieu de Chanville. “It is an ecological diversion as it involves the use of rare earths and adds mass. It is possible to virtually eliminate screens inside vehicles and replace them with this technology”, he is convinced. EyeLights is deploying its solution in two-wheel helmets, but is also looking to supply it to major automakers—a much deeper market.
Shift4good has also chosen to invest in Compredict for 1.5 million euros. This German start-up uses AI to help fleet operators, manufacturers and OEMs gain a better understanding of how their vehicles are used. “Ultimately, this makes it possible to perform predictive maintenance and extend their life,” emphasizes Matthieu de Chanville. Start-up customers can also best auto parts sizes; and therefore improve their energy efficiency.
The end of the euphoria
Compredict works for example with Renault, which is one of Shift4good’s investors in the same way as FEI, InvestEU and Bpifrance. The launch of this fund comes at a time when mobility is experiencing, like other technology sectors a sharp slowdown in financing.
During the first three quarters of 2022, investments reached $32.7 billion worldwide, compared to $93.7 billion for all of 2021. according to PitchBook data . Not enough to discourage Yann Marteil, who prefers to hit a market starting on a healthier footing.
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