The private equity arm of IKEA's largest franchisee, Ingka Group, recently invested in London-based Ocean 14 Capital's ocean sustainability LP fund, bringing the total sum raised to €130 million towards Ocean 14's €150 million ceiling.
It is believed to be Ingka Investment's first deal with an oceans-specific LP vehicle. Ocean 14 Capital first launched in November 2021 after raising €80 million in stealth from the European Investment Fund, Builders Vision, Minderoo Foundation, along with individual investors Alex Beard, Niklas Zennström, and Chr. Augustinus Fabrikker. In September last year, the fund added €10 million from Monaco's sovereign wealth fund.
According to the OECD, by 2030, around $3 trillion of value will flow from ocean businesses, in what is known as the "blue economy".
Ocean 14 is sanctioned to back 20 to 25 growth-stage ocean restorative businesses in the next three years, specifically in areas like sustainable fishing practices, alternative protein products, and ocean conservation.
Around two-thirds of the LP fund's cash supply will track European ocean startups.
As of now, it has four portfolio shareholdings. Two have officially been disclosed: AION, a Norwegian circular economy company that's helping supply chains repurpose plastic waste, and SyAqua, a shrimp aquaculture business with operations in the US and Singapore.
The LP fund was pioneered by Max Gottschalk, ex-founder of Gottex Fund Management, together with George Duffield and Chris Barnes, both of whom previously co-founded a marine sustainability charity, Blue Marine Foundation, to address ocean harms caused by overfishing.
Barnes, described as a society-minded entrepreneur, and who also helped pioneer a communications agency, Adjust your set, said he believed ocean health increasingly was recognised as the most "important investment thesis" out there.
Tech not only has allowed more plastic to be extracted from oceans, but it has given businesses an array of data insights into the health of marine and aquaculture ecosystems. Tech.eu reported recently on a major ocean plastics removal programme undertaken by Rotterdam's Ocean Cleanup. Other European startups in the field, such as Lisbon's TEKEVER, are deploying drones to surveil oceans and extract data insights.
Sustainable oceans featured on the agenda of World Economic Forum delegates at January's summit in Davos, Barnes noted. "Davos 2023 radically shifted the dial on the conversation this year," he said.
"There is a powerful undercurrent of momentum emerging as people are increasingly waking up to the fact that the ocean’s health is the engine to economic growth - and critical to national and global development."
"It is a real testament to the quality of our fund and intention that Ingka Investments has come on board in such a significant capacity. If there’s no ocean, there’s no us - it connects us all. It provides food security and plays a vital role in achieving the UN sustainability agenda."
Ingka's head of financial market investments, Samuel Rundle, added: "Ingka Group is guided by the IKEA vision to create a better everyday life for the many. As a purpose-led company, our aim is to invest with impact, delivering positive returns for communities and the environment for generations to come.
"Ocean health is critical to a cleaner and more inclusive recovery. We were very impressed with the strategy of the Ocean 14 team and are excited to support the acceleration of sustainable solutions to improve our ocean