Circulate Capital hits $14m first close of new fund targeting plastic waste, circular economy

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Singapore-based venture capital firm Circulate Capital has gathered $14 million in the first close of a new fund targeting plastic waste and the circular economy, according to a statement by the investor.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Circulate Capital Disrupt fund (CCD), which has a target corpus of $50 million, has attracted initial pledges from non-corporate investors such as family offices. These include names such as Rumah Group, Twynam Investments, DF Impact Capital, Circocean Ltd and Courtney Hull.

The fund will invest in US and European startups building innovation in materials and deep tech solutions tackling waste management and the recycling value chain. Many of these solutions will sit in the cross-section of supply chains and sectors ranging from sustainable fashion to food waste to new materials.

“The new fund leverages our partnerships with leading corporations and the existing Asia-based portfolio to invest and scale disruptive technologies that have the potential to deliver outsized financial and impact returns. Applying climate-tech innovations to the plastics crisis may be the key to finally stemming the tide, and presents climate-focused investors with the potential for meaningful financial and impact outcomes,” said Circulate Capital founder and CEO Rob Kaplan.

The new fund will complement the firm’s existing $106-million Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF I) which it launched back in October 2019, providing debt and project financing to South and Southeast Asian startups tackling ocean plastic waste.

According to its website, it has 7 portfolio companies under CCOF I, including India’s largest dry waste management company Nepra Waste Management, and Indonesia’s plastic bottle recycling company, Tridi Oasis. Circulate disclosed earlier this year to Livemint that it will dedicate half of its fund to India.

CCOF I had raised capital from several global strategics at the time of its launch, including PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Danone, Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company. All of its limited partners (LPs) were US and Europe-based, primarily from the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and packaging industry.

According to Circulate, the new fund will broaden the firm’s scope and accelerate its mission of developing a circular economy for plastic. It added that adopting a circular economy framework in plastics and materials like steel, aluminum, cement and food can help cut some 9.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases by 2050.

“It’s time for Circulate Capital to strengthen our strategy to fight ocean plastic by also investing upstream to capture a range of exciting investment opportunities at the nexus of climate-tech and plastics that can help us take recycling into the next century,” said Kaplan.

According to Circulate Capital’s impact report released earlier this year, the firm expects its current CCOF I portfolio to prevent over 13 million tonnes of plastic pollution leakage, and avoid 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, while creating 17,000 new jobs.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.