Investing into circular economy SMEs

The investment strategy seeks to provide support to SMEs of all sizes and at different stages of their lifecycle, from startup through to maturity.

While we do not invest directly into SMEs, we have created or invested in stand-alone funds, managed by expert investors, that are dedicated to finding and supporting the best management teams and circular technologies. These fall into three broad categories:

Start-up support
LWARB was the cornerstone investor into Sustainable Accelerator, a new fund created by Sustainable Ventures that is seeking low carbon and circular business models that have reached MVP (Minimum Viable Product) stage. The fund is already largely committed but if you think you may qualify for investment, please get in touch and we can introduce you to the Sustainable Ventures team.

In addition, LWARB will launch its own start-up innovation hub later in 2018, which will look to work with high potential entrepreneurs in the circular economy, in conjunction with industry partners.

Venture capital
LWARB, in partnership with the GLA, is launching a circular economy venture capital fund for those SMEs that already have some market traction and need Series A and Series B capital to start scaling. A procurement process is currently underway to secure a high quality fund manager.

Growth capital
LWARB was one of the first investors to commit funds to Circularity European Growth Fund 1, operated by Circularity Capital. The fund is seeking investment opportunities in circular businesses with proven cashflow and profit, that need significant capital to scale.

All these investments have significant potential to create innovative solutions to London’s pressing waste management issues by:

  • Helping reduce and eliminate waste within London through increased resource efficiency and greater recycling of materials
  • Reducing pollutants (including air quality pollutants) and contributing to development of a zero carbon city by making better use of the existing assets and infrastructure within the city and leveraging technology innovation
  • Creating jobs through developing new business models and revenue streams from waste products and circular technologies, with the potential to add significant GDP to London’s economy
  • Helping foster valuable collaboration between key stakeholders within London, including start-ups, SMEs, social enterprises, corporates, advisors, academia and the public sector
  • Raising awareness of the environmental benefits of circular models such as leasing, sharing and durability, to drive behaviour change
  • Generating financial returns for LWARB to recycle into future programmes

LWARB operates a collaborative model and will be working with corporate, financial, academic, and public sector partners to deliver the investment programme. We are looking for partners who have a vested interest in creating economic value, and developing a more circular ecosystem within the capital. Get in touch if you think we could work together.

Stuart Ferguson – Head of Investment (stuart.ferguson@lwarb.gov.uk) or

Jessica Brodrick – Business Development Officer (jessica.brodrick@lwarb.gov.uk)