If you ask me, climate tech investor Contrarian Ventures isn’t so contrarian anymore.
The five-year-old company is targeting $100 million for its second seed-stage fund, and it’s doing so amid a boom of climate technology deals. So if anything, it’s trendy.
But when the seed-stage VC – a backer from e-bike maker Zoomo and solar data firm PV housing — debuted with a $13.6 million fund in 2017, the focus was “clearly contrarian,” founder Rokas Peciulaitis told londonbusinessblog.com, as the “industries in vogue at the time were AI and Fintech.”
The launch also marked an unexpected pivot for Peciulaitis, who says he dived into the scene with “literally zero experience in the climate technology sector”. He had recently left and inflation trading job at Bank of America, where the job was “not in the least up to scratch,” Peciulaitis said in a nod to the bank’s reputation as a major financier of fossil fuels.
In 2017, PitchBook registered 578 deals on climate technology worldwide, worth a combined $12.5 billion. The sector has since tripled in size as extreme weather events caused by climate change take up more and more space in our collective consciousness. Until then: PitchBook tracked 1,130 climate tech deals worldwide in 2021, valued at more than $44.8 billion. Climate technology is cool now, but Peciulaitis’ Lithuania-based company is sticking to its name anyway.
Like any venture capital firm, Contrarian says it stands out for its emphasis on “developing great relationships with founders.” Materially, the company invests in technology that can help decarbonise transportation, industrial processes, energy and buildings.
Contrarian has closed 21 deals so far and this year expanded beyond Lithuania with new partners in Berlin and London. The company supports emerging startups in Europe and Israel, but nowhere else in the Middle East. Currently, the company does not invest in agriculture-related technology, although the category is a significant environmental footprint from himself.
In an email, Contrarian said it is the London-based tech VC. counts Melted companies among its limited partners. The company declined to share a full list of its LPs, but stated that none of them were fossil fuel companies.