Korea backs cleantech fund

C Change and Korea Investment & Securities will jointly manage the Green Growth Fund, which will invest in green technologies to be deployed, developed or manufactured in Korea. The fund will have $130m in initial backing and could balloon to $5bn over five years.

The Korean government has selected US-based investment firm C Change Investments and financial services firm Korea Investment & Securities to co-manage the country’s Green Growth Fund. 

Fundraising will begin this June and the fund will be seeded with $130 million from the Korean government and private investors. The fund size could exceed $1 billion over the next five years, according to C Change.

The consortium will invest in green technologies to be deployed, developed or manufactured in Korea, John Preston, a C Change co-founder, said in a statement. It will also make private equity investments globally in companies and projects that can stimulate low carbon, green economic growth in Korea.

Korea has manufacturing skills and market opportunities that compliment those in the US, the firms said. The synergies should enable the fund to develop and deploy emerging green technologies faster than if it focused on one market alone, Preston added.

The fund is part of Korea’s plans to become a world leader in green technologies, which will also promote economic growth. In 2008, the government unveiled the Green New Deal project, which aims to create approximately 900,000 jobs in eco-friendly sectors over the next four years.

C Change was founded in November 2008 by Russell Read, the former chief investment officer of California Public Employees’ Retirement System, and John Preston, the former director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Development. The firm targets cleantech investments and is headquartered in Massachusetts.

Founded in 1974, Korea Investment & Securities is the flagship company of financial group Korea Investment Group. The firm offers investment banking and brokerage services, such as domestic and foreign fund products distribution, financial advisory and underwriting.

Earlier this month, the Korean government also backed globalinfrastructure specialist Macquarie Group and South Korean bank WooriBank, when both agreed to raise a $1 billion fund to invest in thecountry's infrastructure and renewable energy sectors.