Founding partner of Public Ventures launches $100M impact fund to invest in clean tech and life science startups

Dollita Okine July 11, 2023
In order to address the issue of Climate Change, Public Ventures founding partner, Zoey Dash McKenzie, has established a $100 million impact fund that seeks out early-stage life science and clean tech startups. Photo Credit: LinkedIn Zoey McKenzie

To address the current climate crisis, Public Ventures founding partner, Zoey Dash McKenzie, has established a $100 million impact fund that seeks out early-stage life science and clean tech startups, particularly those located in Canada, that are committed to “improving health equity and supporting climate preparedness for underserved communities.”

“Beyond just being an impact fund, we are really breaking away from conventional structures and venture capital submitted in alignment with the needs of accelerating early-stage science,” McKenzie told TechCrunch in an interview.

The organization decided to use a waterfall structure; evaluating each deal separately, and then returning money to their LPs earlier. Mckenzie shared, “We’re accelerating capital velocity at the early stage when it’s needed most, so we really sit right in the middle of government grants and traditional venture capital.”

A study has shown that women and communities of color are disproportionately affected by climate change. Consequently, health issues like anemia, malnutrition, and pregnancy complications have been linked to increased exposure to heat, bad air quality, flooding, and wildfires.

Public Ventures joins the ranks of organizations like Planeteer, Salesforce Ventures, Positive Ventures, and Envisioning Partners, which have recently closed on large and small funds intended to have a positive impact on the world.

Although it has a U.S. domicile, the fund will primarily target Canada. According to Mckenzie, Canada receives a significant amount of funding for research, and is home to “some of the best hospitals and universities in the world.”

The type of impact investing that Public Ventures plans to carry out will also “address an issue where Canadians have a bit of a challenge in terms of scaling up the innovation,” she revealed.

However, McKenzie is just beginning the procedure; she hasn’t yet raised any money. Nevertheless, she was invited to take part in a government program where more than $50 million has been set aside for up-and-coming fund managers. She is currently awaiting word on whether this will serve as the fund’s anchor limited partnership.

“We’re aiming to do an open call for the fund in the fall so we will be ready to not only identify some really good startups outside of our current pipelines, but also invest before the end of the year,” McKenzie disclosed.

Working on the fund, according to McKenzie, was like going “full circle.” She attended college to study environmental and health sciences, then worked as a model in New York before starting her own business with a communication SaaS platform.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: July 11, 2023


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