Czech-Republic-based venture capital fund Rockaway Ventures has launched a new fund with the target size of €100 million. The Rockaway Capital group is one of the main investors. The fund is eyeing startups in Central and Eastern Europe, which are digitalising traditional industries, while also following environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles.
By focusing on digitalisation, Rockaway Ventures will build on the legacy of the previous activities of Rockaway Capital and Jakub Havrlant, its founder. The investment group has directed up to €27 million and made 22 venture capital investments in the digital economy since 2014. Its portfolio includes Gjirafa, the Albanian language search engine turned into one of the largest e-commerce players in CEE.
Rockaway Ventures will be looking for the tech disruptors in sectors such as retail, telecom, media, fintech, digital logistics, cybersecurity, and digital healthcare. They will be investing up to €10 million in each company.
Previously, the fund invested in fast-growing Estonian startup Lingvist, with a language learning platform that speeds up learning, and German Vivere, a company that incubates, develops and sells innovative FMCG products.
Based on this foundation, they will continue to focus on the maturing CEE region. Venture capital investment here has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 65%, double the value of the average in Europe, one of the Partners at Rockaway Ventures, Andrea Lauren, explains.
Venture capital with a focus on ESG investments
In 2021, Rockaway Ventures implemented an ESG policy to guide their investment process. This includes an exclusionary screening of companies to identify incongruencies with their ESG standard, and a positive screen step to determine competitive advantages and risks related to ESG.
Both before the deal structure, as well as after an investment, the fund aims to identify together with the company a set of KPIs along which to measure (and track) ESG performance.
“We firmly believe that an active ESG approach to investments is not only socially responsible, but also benefits investors by increasing the value of their investments over the long term,” Andrea Lauren says.
Investing in businesses and technologies that can also bring ESG returns, such as cleantech or solutions with a strong social impact component, is increasingly perceived as a must by financiers of the new economy in Europe.
Toward the end of 2021, The Recursive reported the launch of a €80M sustainability-focused startup fund by Speedinvest. And earlier in the year, German tech startup Ecosia launched World fund, the largest climate tech fund in Europe to invest €350M in decarbonization solutions.