Francesco is a Founding Partner and Chief Financial Officer at Glennmont Partners, one of Europe’s largest investors focusing on clean energy infrastructure, with over £2 billion under management. Glennmont has investments primarily through Limited Partnership Funds raised from institutional investors in wind farms, biomass power stations, solar parks and small-scale hydropower plants. Francesco has been investing in this area for 13 years, and has been a member of GAS for 4 years, and has invested in eight GAS portfolio companies. In 2021 Glennmont was acquired by Nuveen, one of the largest fund managers in the world, which is itself owned by the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund of the US.
How did you first hear about GAS?
One of the Non-Executive Directors on the Glennmont Partners board – Julia Prescott – is a member of the Green Angel Syndicate. Julia is amazingly inspirational and has a beautiful way of approaching the Non-Executive Director role, providing a lot of experience and insights into the market. Julia mentioned she had joined Green Angel Syndicate and I thought the climate change and entrepreneurial aspects of it sounded really interesting. So I joined the Syndicate in 2018 when it only had about 50 members and immediately clicked with the team. It’s like being part of a member’s club, where everyone is approachable, willing to help and sit down for a chat. It’s not a corporate investment machine, it’s very human.
They do a terrific job of giving us members the information we need – through the members’ area of website, through sending detailed emails after pitch events, through the round-up videos that Cam Ross [CEO] does. It’s so smoothly done that you don’t need to pick up the phone and ask questions. I’m sure there’s room for improvement but it’s already a better experience compared to other angel syndicates.
What drew you to the Green Angel Syndicate board?
I have a really strong interest in the fight against climate change. In my job, I focus on the renewable side and a more advanced stage of investment, so I was intrigued by the idea of having the chance to look at early stage companies. I hope I can bring the same kind of expertise, insight and knowledge to Green Angel Syndicate that Julia brings to the Glennmont board.
What brought you to found Glennmont Partners?
I started in the energy sector straight after university – in 1999. The Italian government was privatising the energy sector and I worked as a consultant in the audit and financial reporting for these big privatisations. I moved to London in 2001, and after finishing business school I worked at a company investing in renewable energy. I’ve done a lot of reading around the problem of climate change and its possible consequences. Watch the recent film Don’t Look Up, which reflects how we are sleepwalking towards disaster. I really want to make a difference and not only through investing. For example I don’t have a car, I’ve insulated my old house and I only buy electricity from renewable sources. There are so many ways that individuals can help reduce carbon emissions.
What do you think of Green Angel Syndicate’s plans for the future?
There’s a lot of capital out there that could be invested in this sector, but people don’t know how to do it. They might not find the right funds or the right channels. People need to feel part of the solution, rather than being passive investors. Green Angel Syndicate can provide the insight, experience and the channels to allow this capital to enter the climate change sector – through the syndicate, the EIS Climate Change Fund and through future offerings.
Green Angel Syndicate is unique in that its members have both interest and experience in the climate change sector. I’ve been part of the due diligence process for GAS deals and was impressed by the quality of the questions asked and insights applied to the potential portfolio companies.
Have you yourself invested in any Green Angel Syndicate portfolio companies?
I’ve made around 10 investments and I’m also a shareholder in the Green Angel Syndicate company itself.
Are there any companies in particular sectors that you would like to see applying for funding?
I’d be interested to see blockchain technology in the climate change sector – that would be fascinating.
How do you like to spend your free time?
As a good Italian, I like cooking. I recently purchased a new barbecue and often have friends over to test new dishes. I love sailing, going for runs and hiking. My family also has a small vineyard in Tuscany.
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. Green Angel Syndicate 2 Ltd is an appointed representative of SFC Capital Partners Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’) in the United Kingdom (FRN 736284). The content is for information purposes only and should not be used or considered as an offer or solicitation to purchase or sell any securities