New climate impact fund Idealist Capital has secured a first close of $250 million CAD.
Led and created by Québec business veterans Pierre Larochelle and Steeve Robitaille, Idealist wants to invest in tech companies focused on the decarbonization of power systems, industries and the circular economy, as well as electric vehicles.
The fund’s overall target is to raise $500 million CAD.
Current limited partners in the fund include Desjardins, Investissement Québec, Fondaction, TD Bank, and National Bank of Canada. Idealist noted that a group of “prominent” family offices and accredited investors also took part, though the firm did not disclose names.
As founders and co-managing partners, Larochelle and Robitaille bring notable experience to Idealist. Larochelle comes from the renewable energy division of Power Corp., and serving as co-managing partner of its $1 billion sustainable renewable infrastructure fund led Power’s investment in Lion Electric (where he serves as chairman). In addition to serving on various energy company boards, Larochelle touts himself as an angel investor in early-stage tech companies, like Taiga Motors.
Until early last year, Robitaille worked at Bombardier as senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary. He claims to have played an active role in defining and implementing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies at Bombardier.
Idealist is calling itself a private equity growth fund with a focus on investments that can “generate positive climate impact.” According to The Globe and Mail, Idealist is targeting early commercial-stage companies that are looking for capital to help scale their operations. The fund is set to make up to 10 investments with cheques between $25 million to $75 million. Idealist is focused on Canada but is also open to investments in the United States.
The firm has a bench of advisors spanning the energy sector as well as renewables. Advisors include Lion Electric CEO Marc Bedard; David MacMillan of Power’s infrastructure fund; Hervé Touati, formerly general manager of Shell New Energies; and Tim Tokarsky, the chairman of Taiga Motors.