BeCapital beats target with €148m close

Cleantech-focused BeCapital has closed its first fund, whose strategy goes beyond that of other cleantech firms, says CEO Alexandre Schmitz.

Luxembourg-based BeCapital has raised €148.3 million for its first fund, which closed this week. It had an original target of €100 million and a hard-cap of €150 million. According to the firm, its investment criteria is different to other cleantech firms as it considers human health as well as the environment.

BeCapital’s fund took one-and-a-half years to raise, with cornerstone investors European private equity firm Cobepa and family office Edmond de Rothschild Group committing €30 million and €15 million respectively. The firm did not use a placement agent and received the bulk of its commitments from family offices, according to a source close to the firm. 

In a difficult fundraising environment, family office-backed private equity firms find it easier to obtain capital, another industry professional told Private Equity International. The source also said that in the cleantech sector firms are currently struggling to raise money, find good opportunities and sell investments. 

However, Alexandre Schmitz, BeCapital's chief executive, said the cleantech sector was a solid market. Schmitz pointed out that BeCapital's investment strategy revolved around a “holistic perspective”. He explained the firm not only evaluates investments pursuant to environmental issues such as energy efficiency and climate change, but that it also considers the effects of resources, toxins and biodiversity on human health. 

Schmitz detailed the fund mandate as investing in proven clean technology across Western Europe. He stressed that BeCapital is not a venture firm and would only make investments in businesses with at least €10 million of annual revenue. 

The fund has made four investments so far. Its latest was the acquisition of a 20 percent stake in Pavatex, a green building company. The business uses wood fiber installation panels to reduce moisture and toxicity in the air and has revenues of €100 million annually. 

BeCapital, which was established in 2009, was initiated with backing from by Cobepa, environmental consultant BeCitizen and Swiss private financial company La Compagnie Benjamin de Rothschild. Schmitz himself worked for the private equity arm of Cobepa for 12 years.

Also working for BeCapital are Laurent Vermer and Lionel Schreiber. The firm is looking to grow further and is currently seeking two more professionals to join its ranks.