- Beyond Impact is a sustainable venture capital fund based out of Luxembourg that has the goal of investing in a kinder, cleaner, healthier world. These are the details.
Beyond Impact is a sustainable venture capital fund based out of Luxembourg that has the goal of investing in a kinder, cleaner, healthier world. To learn more about the firm, I spoke with Claire Smith, CEO of Beyond Impact.
Smith has been a vegan and environmentalist for more than three decades with expertise and experience in finance. And she spent most of her career working at top-tier banks and investment houses while having a degree in engineering.
Plus Smith is a serial entrepreneur building a tech company (Beyond Animal), an algorithmic-driven investor and animal-free ventures matchmaking platform, And she launched the world’s first vegan ETF (VEGN by Beyond Investing) and the first 100% alternative protein and next-gen materials-focused funds (Beyond Impact) run out of Europe. Plus she has overseen investments in close to 30 deals over the last 4-5 years.
How did the idea for Beyond Impact come together?
“It was 2016, and I started seeing activists, scientists, and entrepreneurs coming together to end animal slaughter and create an animal-free world. As a vegan and environmentalist with expertise in finance and investments, I decided to marry the two to create a perfect sweet spot to work on. I saw the opportunity and decided to use my skills to set up a venture capital fund, Beyond Impact, in 2017-2018,” said Smith. “From this, I seeded close to 23 companies. This will help us transition towards an animal-free economy, where we don’t see animals as objects but as sentient species. More than that, the transition will reduce supply chain irregularities, make the food system more resilient, and reduce carbon footprint at scale.”
Some of Beyond Impact’s largest milestones have been nearly 30 investments in pre-Seed, Seed, Series A, Series B, and Series C rounds and they were among the first investors in “soon-icorns,” Mosa Meat, Geltor, Blue Nalu, and The EVERY Company. And they successfully closed the second Beyond Impact venture capital fund in February 2022 and have made 10 investments since then. And the firm is aiming to invest in 15-20 more animal-free companies in the future of food and materials in the next 18-24 months.
What are some of Beyond Impact’s future goals? “As a climate and ecologically sustainable fund with a lens on an animal-free economy, our future goals are aligned with our core impact objective of accelerating the transition towards a kinder, cleaner, and healthier world. We are excited about the potential of ingredients that make alternative proteins more feasible, scalable, affordable, and palatable as well as next-gen materials that replace existing animal-derived materials like silk, leather, wool, etc., and provide a solution to food waste,” added Smith. “To have the most impact on animals, the planet, and people, we aim to fully raise our Beyond Impact Fund II target of USD 160 M by the end of the year. In doing so, we expect to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 200,000 tons annually. This number will only increase over time as our portfolio companies grow and take more market share from the current animal-based supply chain.”
Recent Investment In Paleo
Beyond Impact also recently announced an investment in Paleo’s EUR 12 million Series A to bring the real taste of meat to plant-based foods. Other investors who joined Beyond Impact in this round were DSM Venturing, Planet A, Gimv, SFPIM, and Siddhi Capital. Paleo is known as a Belgian precision fermentation company that allows food manufacturers to offer a real taste experience by offering key ingredients for environmentally friendly and cruelty-free meat and fish alternatives. The company’s first product is a heme alternative to provide a more meaty flavor and sensory aspect.
Through Fund II – which launched in Q1 2022 – the firm has made 60% of its investments in ingredient and technology companies acting as enablers/capacity builders to make alternative proteins more feasible, scalable, affordable, and palatable. Fund II has made 9 investments, including Paleo, with 6 investments into portfolio companies from Fund I and 3 new investments. These companies offer products/solutions in Europe, North America, and APAC.