Green entrepreneur Jo Bamford and heir to the Midlands construction equipment company JCB, has joined forces with multi-family office Vedra Partners
to launch HYCAP, a hydrogen investment fund which has set its sights on raising £1 billion.
In 2019, Jo Bamford (the heir to the JCB empire) took over the reins of Wrightbus
after rescuing the company from administration and transformed it into one of the world’s most prominent bus manufacturers. Last year the company launched the world’s first Double Deck Hydrogen bus. Earlier this year it launched the world’s first double deck hydrogen bus – The Hydroliner was officially launched into operation in Aberdeen with First Group, Scotland’s largest bus operator.
The capital, which already stands at more than £200m after the first round of investment, will be injected largely into UK businesses, with the focus on speeding-up green hydrogen production and supply, creating jobs and contributing to the Government’s Net Zero targets.
Jo’s family live in Gloucestershire. His mother Carole has been a champion of sustainable living herself for more than 40 years, establishing the highly successful Daylesford Organic
near Stow-on-the-Wold, now one of the UK’s most sustainable organic farms.
Jo Bamford believes the UK hydrogen sector would need a £1bn injection to help it compete with other territories. “With the Government’s relentless pursuit of Net Zero targets and the publication of the damning IPCC report, it is our belief that hydrogen holds the key to reducing emissions – and there is a growing sense of urgency to act now,” he explained.
“The UK has missed the boat on batteries, a sector dominated by China and the Far East, but we can be global leaders in the production and supply of hydrogen – an economy said to be worth $2.5 trillion in revenues by 2050.
Mr Bamford said his team had already identified more than 40 firms in the hydrogen space which will be evaluated for investment.
“We have also discovered that investors around the world match the ambitions of global governments in wanting green-focused funds which have a positive impact on climate change,” he added.
Mr Bamford said there were a number of key drivers for the renewed interest in hydrogen: 70 per cent of global GDP is linked to hydrogen country roadmaps; membership of the Hydrogen Council has increased almost five-fold since 2017, and the UK Government has pledged to have 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production by 2030.
The HYCAP founding team brings together significant hydrogen, manufacturing, financing and fund management expertise, with industry hires collectively having had working knowledge of more than 150 utility-scale renewables projects in more than 12 countries.
Vedra Partners’ founder Max Gottschalk, who took the Gottex managed funds from $3million of seed capital in 1999 to a $16 billion success story eight years later, said there had already been a great deal of interest.
“The fund will be investing across the entire value chain, focusing on production, manufacture and supply, in order to put the UK firmly on the map when it comes to hydrogen.
“By striking meaningful commercial partnerships and developing intelligent go-to-market strategies it is clear HyCap’s maiden fund can add strategic, operational and financial value to the ecosystem while creating entrepreneurial growth businesses.”
When fully deployed, the fund will unlock large-scale long-term job creation and aim to save up to 25% of cities’ transport budget.