“We are at the precipice of the sustainable technology renaissance… I can see how much you care. That’s why I’m creating a way to invest in all the companies that I am putting my money into.”
This month, actor Robert Downey Jr. has launched two venture funds to support sustainable technology, which he described to be “a critical pathway toward the discovery and scaling of better solutions for our planet.”
The announcement was made during the actor’s participation in a virtual panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The newly launched Footprint Coalition Ventures for which the actor has invested nearly $10 million of his own fortune are part of Downey’s Footprint Coalition – which he started in June 2019 along with his wife Susan Downey and a group of tech investors and entrepreneurs.
The Footprint Coalition aims to support companies developing business models and technologies to provide solutions to some of the toughest challenges posed by the climate crisis.
The two funds launched will focus on six key investment areas: sustainable consumer products and services; food and agriculture technology; materials and industrial technology; energy and transportation; education and media and advanced environmental solutions.
While one of the venture funds will invest in early-stage technologies, the other will focus on late-stage investments.
‘Our planet has problems’
Announcing the news in an official Instagram video, the actor said: “I love our planet, but it’s got problems — we all know it.
“We need new solutions… I’m seeing crazy, amazing new tech products that can restore the environment and we are at the precipice of the sustainable technology renaissance with A.I., robotics, computational biology, creating amazing new materials, foods, products, sources of energy.”
“I’ve been dealing with false existential threats in the Marvel universe and thought it was time to think about the real ones,” he states in the video.
“I formed the FootPrint Coalition to bring scale to trailblazing sustainable technology companies.
“Hearing from so many of you, I can see how much you care. That’s why I’m creating a way to invest in all the companies that I am putting my money into.
“And, if you want to learn more, get involved, will ya?”
FootPrint Coalition Ventures have invested in five companies to date and Seattle-based startup Cloud Paper, which uses ultra-renewable bamboo to create products such as toilet paper and paper towels is one of five companies being backed at this time.
Cloud Paper was launched in 2019 by University of Washington grads Ryan Fritsch and Austin Watkins, and
The company states 40,000 trees are felled just for toilet paper and paper towels daily. This process accounts for 20% of global deforestation.
According to Cloud Paper, Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. The plants can be harvested in as little as three years, and provide an ultra-sustainable alternative to tree-based paper.
‘Crucial mission for the world’
“We are thrilled to partner with Robert Downey Jr. and the Footprint Coalition team on our mission to save a billion trees,” Fritsch said.
“The entire team at Footprint Coalition is passionate about what we are building and they have been tremendous partners. Being able to leverage Robert’s creative team and their expertise in community building, storytelling, and media distribution is crucial to sharing our mission with the world.”
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