Ex-Robeco chief plots June close for debut impact fund

Future Planet is seeking at least $500m for a vehicle targeting university spin-outs, executive chairman Douglas Hansen-Luke told PEI.

Future Planet Capital, a venture capital firm founded by the former chief executive of Robeco Middle East, is targeting a first close on $250 million for its debut impact fund in June, Private Equity International has learned.

The London-based firm is aiming to hold a final close on $500 million in June 2019, Douglas Hansen-Luke told PEI. The Future Planet Capital Fund has already secured a $20 million cornerstone commitment from Royal Berkshire Pension Fund and $30 million from Thai asset manager TW & Partners, with the latter set to reach $200 million at final close.

Future Planet, which Hansen-Luke founded in 2016, is also in discussions over a third cornerstone commitment with an undisclosed Gulf sovereign wealth fund. The firm, which spent 18 months tailoring the vehicle to the needs of large institutional investors ahead its launch in February, will invite 50 LPs in total.

The fund will target university spin-outs via direct deals and co-investments with a limited number of university funds in Asia, Europe and the US, according to the firm’s website. It will look for ticket sizes of around $5 million in Series A or B funding rounds in the UK and Series B or C globally, Hansen-Luke said.

In December, the firm partnered with x-labs, Tsinghua University’s non-profit entrepreneurship platform, to provide up to £30 million ($41.6 million; €33.7 million) of funding to x-lab spin-outs. FPC’s partnership network also covers universities such as Harvard, the University of Oxford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The fund prioritises high returns while addressing challenges in climate change, education, health, security and sustainable growth. Its portfolio – funded through pre-launch commitments from Royal Berkshire – includes internet-of-things specialist Pragmatic and genome analytics software provider Sapientia.

Hansen-Luke was responsible for Robeco’s business, growth and client servicing in the Middle East, Africa, Turkey and Central Asia from 2007-12, according to his LinkedIn page. Robeco has €152 billion of assets under management as of September 2017, according to its website.