Antoine Pradayrol is an experienced early stage climate tech investor. Since 2019, he has been leading the development of the GAS Climate Change Fund (EIS) and he chairs its Investment Advisory Committee. Since 2015, he has built a portfolio of 25 angel investments across the energy transition sector, clean transportation and smart cities, energy efficiency solutions, circular economy, robotics, and ed-tech. In addition, he is actively supporting founders as part of Imperial Venture Mentoring Service, and also as Non-executive director of Zedify, and formerly as Board observer of AirEx. Prior to joining GAS in 2017, Antoine had more than 15 years of experience in finance, as an equity research analyst covering the telecoms sector. He was an Executive Director and partner with Exane BNP Paribas, based in Paris initially and in London since 2005. Antoine is passionate about companies applying innovative technologies to tackle climate change. He studied at Ecole Polytechnique (x90) and Telecom ParisTech (1995), with respective majors in economics & finance, and technology & telecoms.
How did you first hear about GAS?
When I saw Nick [Lyth] present at an event somewhere in London at the end of 2016. He was presenting Green Angel Syndicate and Powervault was also presenting. Simon [Acland] was also there so I got to speak to Simon and Nick at the end of the meeting.
Why did you choose to get involved with GAS?
I was already doing my own angel investments, which I started doing in 2015 and I was focusing more than half my investments on companies that tackle climate change. I thought that there was a big opportunity and there was a big need as well. It was not very fashionable at that point. I have an engineering background so I understood some of the technical aspects of the companies that were trying to tackle climate change.
I came from the telecoms sector and there were lots of companies trying to apply ‘internet of things’ solutions to help solve climate change. For example, in energy efficiency a clever combination of connected sensors and smart software can get a long way to monitor and reduce energy consumption in buildings, which helps reduce carbon emissions. I thought I could help these companies grow. I was interested in doing my own angel investments, and I was interested in applying the technical insights that I had to the angel investments.
I sensed the need to be in a group. It’s better to be in a group to make a proper decision. Other people might have different and better questions than yourself. Also, once you’ve invested you’ve got a much stronger position if you’re part of a group. I clearly saw the benefits of being part of a group. The people were important, working with Nick, Simon and Cam was inspiring. There was an entrepreneurial spirit which was exciting to me, and it’s still the case.
How do you feel about joining the GAS board?
The fund activities are growing and I’m in charge of that part. I launched the Climate Change fund almost 2 years ago. There are big projects coming so it makes sense for me to be part of the board.
I think it’s very exciting. We’re at a point where we’re starting to see the benefit of the hard work we’ve done in the last 5 years. We’ve started to see some of our portfolio companies make impressive inroads; growing, raising big rounds and having a significant impact.
Are there any companies in particular sectors that you would like to see apply for funding?
I like to be surprised by the projects that we see. All key sectors of the economy produce massive carbon emissions – we want to see solutions in all of them. The good news is that founders have great ideas. I want to see ambitious founders that want to disrupt sectors in an important way. It’s more about the scale of the ambition; that’s what I’m interested in.
What do you think about the direction Green Angel Syndicate is moving in ?
I think it’s very exciting. We’re at a point where we’re starting to see the benefit of the hard work we’ve done in the last 5 years. We’ve started to see some of our portfolio companies make impressive inroads; growing, raising big rounds and having a significant impact. That’s the thing I think is exciting right now. We need to capitalise on that to improve our visibility so that we continue to attract the best founders and great members, both individuals and professionals.
We need to think about accelerating our pace. There is a growing need to tackle climate change and there is a growing appetite from investors to do something about it. The whole world is aligning with what we’re doing, we need to look at what we’ve achieved and how we can expand on that. It’s the right time because so many things are well aligned with GAS.
We need to think about accelerating our pace. There is a growing need to tackle climate change and there is a growing appetite from investors to do something about it.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I don’t have a lot of free time, I spend most of it with my kids. I love travelling but it sometimes comes with a bit of guilt – because it’s not yet easy to find zero carbon travel options.
*Risk disclaimer: Investment in early-stage companies involves risks such as illiquidity, lack of dividends, loss of investment and dilution. Even when diversified within a fund, investing in early stage companies carries a higher risk than investing in more established companies. Investment in EIS and SEIS funds should be considered as part of a diversified portfolio. For professional investors only.