Meet our Investor Member Simone Riedel Riley, Partner at emerald.vc and Head of Technology Fund
Please tell us about the Technology Fund.
The Technology Fund boosts environmentally friendly innovations! It offers loan guarantees of up to 3 million Swiss francs to Swiss companies whose novel products contribute to a sustainable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Who manages the Technology Fund?
Emerald Technology Ventures AG, along with subcontractor South Pole, is managing the Swiss Technology Fund on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment FOEN.
Can you explain how companies can apply for such a guarantee?
Interested companies can complete a quick online check on the Technology Funds website to find out whether they fulfil the most important criteria. Applications are then submitted online by filling in our application form and uploading a pitch deck and some recent financial information. If our initial assessment is positive, additional documents must be submitted in the due diligence process.
What is the focus of the due diligence and how much does it cost?
Our focus is on the potential impact – as measured in reduction of CO2 equivalents – and the market chances and ultimately creditworthiness of the applicant company. Successful applicants pay 3’000 Swiss francs for the whole due diligence process: 1’000 after the pre-selection and 2’000 before receiving the guarantee.
Who makes the final decision and how long does the whole process take?
In the final step, the expert committee of the Technology Fund makes the decision if the guarantee will be granted. The entire application and due diligence process usually takes four to five months but depends on how quickly the applicant companies can provide the necessary information. About 40 percent of applicant companies pass the preliminary examination. Of these, around 80 percent receive a guarantee.
What are the conditions?
The annual fee is 0.9% of the guarantee amount. In addition, companies pay a low interest rate to their bank of choice. The fund guarantees up to 60% of the required capital. 40% of the funds must be raised from other sources.
What are the main reasons why companies may be rejected?
If we are forced to reject an application for a guarantee, it is usually because the companies are too early-stage or there is no quantifiable environmental impact. Regarding the phase, companies must proof that their technology is market-ready and has already generated commercial revenues of at least CHF 100’000. We conduct reference calls with at least 3 clients who must be able to confirm the positive impact, e.g., CO2e emission reduction.
Who should be getting in touch with you?
I encourage anyone who develops and markets an innovative climate-tech hardware or software to get in touch with us. This includes Swiss startups and SME! The Technology Fund finances companies which reduce CO2e emissions and save resources in a wide variety of ways. Environmental benefits can be achieved by:
- Reducing CO2e emissions
- Improving energy efficiency
- Promoting renewable energies
- Conserving resources
And finally, can you say something about the impact generated by your portfolio companies?
Yes! We are proud to say that the 130 companies supported by the Technology Fund are significantly benefiting the environment: in 2022, each portfolio company saved around 17’000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents on average. To put this in perspective, one single ton of CO₂ is equivalent to 3’300 kilometers with a petrol car or 8’800 cups of coffee.
Simone is all about climate-tech! She is a partner at Emerald Technology Ventures and heads the Technology Fund which provides loan guarantees to Swiss climate-tech companies. Simone earned her MBA at University of Zurich and studied at Harvard and Indiana University in the U.S. Before joining Emerald Technology Ventures in 2010, she worked as a CFO and a corporate finance consultant. Under Simone’s leadership, Emerald Technology Ventures received the mandate from the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN for the operational management of the Technology Fund. The Technology Fund currently supports over 130 Swiss start-ups and SME by giving them access to affordable loans to scale environmentally friendly innovations.