If you ask me, climate tech investor Contrarian Ventures isn’t so controversial anymore.
The five-year-old firm is targeting $100 million for its second seed fund and is doing so in the middle of climate technology deal boom. So, if nothing else, it’s modern.
But when the initial stage VC — supporter of the manufacturer of e-bikes Zoom and a solar data company PVC box — debuted with $13.6 million in funding in 2017, its focus was “obviously contrarian,” founding partner Rokas Pechiulaitis told TechCrunch, as “the industries in vogue at the time were AI and Fintech.”
The launch also marks an unexpected turn for Peciulaitis, who says he jumped into the scene with “literally zero experience in the climate technology sector.” He had recently left inflation-trade job at Bank of America, where the job “didn’t fit the bill in the least,” Pechiulaitis said, in deference to the bank’s reputation as major sponsor of fossil fuels.
In 2017, PitchBook recorded 578 climate technology deals worldwide with a total value of $12.5 billion. Since then, the sector has tripled in size as climate change-induced extreme weather events occupy an ever-increasing place in our collective consciousness. So far: PitchBook has tracked 1,130 global climate technology deals in 2021, valued at more than $44.8 billion. Climate technology is already cool, but Pechiulaitis’ Lithuanian-based venture firm is sticking with its name anyway.
Like any venture capital firm, Contrarian says it stands out with its emphasis on “developing excellent relationships with founders.” Crucially, the company is investing in technologies that could help decarbonize transport, industrial processes, energy and buildings.
Contrarian has closed 21 deals to date and expanded beyond Lithuania this year with new partners in Berlin and London. The firm supports emerging startups in Europe as well as Israel, but nowhere else in the Middle East. The firm is not currently investing in technology related to agriculture, although the category has a significant carbon footprint own.
In an email, Contrarian said the London-based tech VC is counting Dissolved enterprises among its limited partners. The firm declined to share a full list of its long-term holdings, but said none were fossil fuel companies.