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British Land Bets Big On Climatetech


British Land has doubled down in investment in climatetech, making a second investment in Fifth Wall’s Climate Technology Fund.

The move comes as property races to catch up on decarbonisation. It follows investment in Fifth Walls funds by Canadian giant Ivanhoé Cambridge, Knight Frank, BNP Paribas Real Estate, CBRE, Segro and Cushman & Wakefield.

Whilst the industry is making strides toward net zero carbon operational buildings, the sector has yet to make much progress on the trickier problem of embodied (or sequestered) carbon. Carbontech — the climate end of proptech — is an increasingly popular bet.

Fifth Wall raised more than $1.1B last year from existing investors and newcomers, for general proptech funds as well as those investing in companies focusing on decarbonisation. It has in turn invested in 25 new portfolio companies and five IPOs from companies in which it previously invested, including Procore, Blend and Doma, which uses predictive analytics and cutting-edge technology to deliver a modern title and escrow platform.

British Land first invested in the fund as far back as July 2019.

Last month PwC published research showing a surge of investment into climatetech to $85.B, up 210% on the previous year. But the flood of funding is skewed toward mobility and transport, food waste and green hydrogen production, with less emphasis on real estate. The accountancy firm argued that unfavoured sectors should and could receive more attention, a move that would likely benefit investors as much as the climate.

Founded in 2016, Fifth Wall is a certified B Corporation, and it claims to be the largest venture capital firm focused on technology-driven innovation for the global real estate industry, with approximately $3B in commitments and capital under management.

“We have a clear strategy to deliver against our ambitious 2030 goal to make our whole portfolio net zero carbon," British Land Chief Operating Officer David Walker said. "As we continue to make progress, we know that new technologies will play an increasingly important role in both the development and operation of our places. This investment will help us grow our expertise in climatetech, gain exposure to innovative solutions that are directly applicable to our business and retain our industry-leading position on sustainability." 

“The challenges we face are all-encompassing in scope and global in reach and therefore it is critical that we uncover and invest in the solutions that can decarbonize the world’s largest asset class," Fifth Wall co-founder Brendan Wallace said. "We look forward to continuing to partner with real estate industry leaders like British Land, from whom we can also learn and which are key to ensuring that vital new technologies are deployed.”