Actor Robert Downey Jr. has put at least $10 million of his own fortune into the launch of a new rolling venture investment fund called Footprint Coalition Ventures. The investment focus areas listed so far are bamboo (MISSION: Build the world’s most sustainable paper. End global deforestation), insect-based protein, and plastic alternatives, with grants available for cellular agriculture, microplastics, and conservation tech.
The funds are part of Footprint Coalition, an environmental and business initiative led by the Iron Man and Avengers star along with his wife Susan Downey and a team of veteran tech investors and entrepreneurs.
“I formed the Footprint Coalition to bring scale to trailblazing sustainable technology companies in two ways: we mobilise our audience with content, and we mobilise capital by making investments in leading innovators,” says the award-winning actor in a video message.
According to Forbes, the funds were announced in Davos at the World Economic Forum meeting on January 27. The team will be looking for promising young companies in fields ranging from food production to energy and materials science. It will also look for opportunities in the media related to green technology.
The Footprint Coalition, first conceived in 2019, will support companies that develop sustainable business models and technologies that help tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges, principal among them being climate change. Its purpose is to bring together investors, donors and others needed to help create solutions to pressing environmental problems.
This global existential threat is not something that’s going to be solved by a smattering of elite mega-corporations,” the actor said at the recent virtual Davos summit. “I think that paradigm must be smashed in favor of innovation by a broad set of new companies.”
The goal of the funds is to support for-profit companies that can become major players in their fields while combating climate change. One fund will focus on seed and Series A investments, while the other will focus on later-stage opportunities, starting with B rounds. Downey hopes to attract thousands of qualified and accredited investors through a revolving fund model which will accept quarterly subscriptions.
Apart from that, the Footprint Coalition does non-profit work in science and tech, as well as storytelling. Downey contributed most of the $10m used to launch the FootPrint coalition. He will also put his own money into the new funds. “I’m willing to demonstrate just how in the game my skin is,” he told Forbes.
In addition, the actor has made a very tempting promise to investors: “In 11 years, when I’m 65, if we make a noble dent in what I consider is a massive threat to our future – the mess we leave behind – I’m going to come back, and I’m going to throw the nuttiest retirement party you’ve ever seen, and all of you are invited”