Ocean 14 Capital lands EUR 30 million from Ikea franchisee's investment arm

Published on
February 13, 2023
An Ikea shopping bag.

The investment arm of the world’s largest Ikea franchisee has placed EUR 30 million (USD 32 million) under the management of Ocean 14 Capital, a private equity group operating a EUR 150 million (USD 160 million) “blue economy” impact fund.

The investment, announced Monday, 13 February, was made to support the Ingka Group’s to “mission of funding sustainable solutions to improve ocean health,” it said. The group operates 392 Ikea stores in 32 countries.

“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,” Ingka Investments Head of Financial Market Investments Samuel Rundle said. “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 oceans.”

The investment emerged out of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in January 2023 in Davos, Switzerland, according to Ocean 14 Capital Founding Partner Chris Gorell Barnes. In particular, a dedicated session, “Ocean 20: Building a Sustainable Blue Economy,” featuring United Nations Special Envoy for the Ocean Peter Thomson, who also serves as co-chair of the World Economic Forum's Friends of Ocean Action, created a catalyst for attendees “to seize the critical opportunities for Ocean Action in 2023,” Barnes said.

“Davos 2023 radically shifted the dial on the conversation this year. There is a powerful undercurrent of momentum emerging as people are increasingly waking up to the fact that ocean’s health is the engine to economic growth – and critical to national and global development. Is this the most important investment thesis of our time? We fervently believe yes. Without a healthy marine ecosystem there is zero chance of humanity surviving,” Barnes said. “I’d like to think we are at the tipping point of where the blue economy becomes mainstream. In less than two years, we have backed four groundbreaking growth-stage companies, doing extraordinary work. So for Ingka Investments to recognize this just spurs us on further. Tackling climate change and food security is vital for retailers – ocean health has a direct positive impact for consumers and commerce.”

Barnes said his fund uses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water as a guiding principle to invest in companies working in aquaculture and alternative proteins, reducing plastic waste pollution, protecting ecosystems and marine flora, and ending overfishing.

“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 U.N. sustainability agenda,” he said.

Barnes said with the backing of the Inkga Group, as well as a EUR 10 million (USD 10.7 million) commitment from the sovereign wealth fund of the Principality of Monaco in September 2021, the fund has now raised EUR 130 million (USD 139 million) and remains “well on track” to grow its portfolio to between 20 and 25 businesses within three years. It previously completed a EUR 80 million (USD 86 million) first close in November 2021, with backers including the European Investment Fund (EIF), Chr. Augustinus Fabrikker, Builders Vision, Minderoo Foundation, British businessman Alex Beard, and Swedish entrepreneur Niklas Zennström.

Ocean 14 Capital is a partnership between the founders of Pontos Aqua, the Blue Marine Foundation, and Vedra Partners. It is focused on investing in growth-stage businesses, with two-thirds of its investments going toward European, and the remainder dedicated to global investments. It has invested in four companies to-date: Singapore-based shrimp-genetics company SyAqua; Italian clam breeder and hatchery MITO; plastic waste recycling firm Aion; and Brazilian tilapia farmer Tilabras.

Photo courtesy of George Duffield

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