Another US venture capital firm, Leonardo DiCaprio-backed Regeneration.VC, moves a general partner to Europe

  • The cofounding partner of Regeneration.VC, a VC fund backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, has moved to Europe.
  • Michael Smith has moved to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to lead the VC’s European operations.
  • It comes as Regeneration.VC pursues its second fund, Insider understands.

Regeneration.VC, a venture capital firm backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, has relocated a founding partner to Europe and is raising its second fund.

Michael Smith, a general partner at Regeneration.VC in Los Angeles, relocated his family to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in August. He is the latest in a long line of US investors to relocate to Africa, joining Sequoia, Lightspeed Ventures, and IVP.

Regeneration.In addition, VC is raising its second fund. Due to marketing regulations, Smith declined to comment further on the fundraise.

Smith founded Regeneration.VC in 2020 to invest in seed and Series A stage companies in what he refers to as “consumer climate technology.” It aims to make consumer hardware and software more sustainable, from supply chain and logistics to the physical materials and dyes used to make products.

“That has been a thesis that really has resonated with European founders and investors in particular,” Smith said in an interview with Insider. “We had investors and then companies in our portfolio in Europe for our first fund.” Managing that from the United States was proving difficult. Putting and committing to having a team on the ground here… gives us proximity to our existing companies while also allowing us to find new ones.”

Depending on the stage of the startup, the nine-person team writes tickets worth up to $3 million from its initial $45 million fund. Regeneration.VC has both participated in and led transactions in the areas of the circular economy, resource efficiency, emissions reductions, and material waste.

According to the partner, European limited partners who invest in venture capital funds have a better understanding of and appetite for the circular economy, which refers to the reuse, sharing, and recycling of products and resources whenever possible in order to avoid waste.

An associate recently relocated to Denmark, where Regeneration.VC hired consumer expert Tue Mantoni as a special advisor. The company also has offices in New York and New Zealand.

Approximately one-third of Regeneration.So far, Smith said, VC’s first fund has gone to European companies. Greyparrot, an AI recycling company, and Matter, a microplastics startup, are among the companies in the firm’s portfolio.

Smith is particularly interested in the Nordics and the Netherlands, the latter of which he describes as a hub for the circular economy. Regeneration.VC recently announced a collaboration with the Dutch organization Circle Economy Foundation, which will source deals and provide portfolio impact measurements for the fund. Regeneration.VC also helps its portfolio grow by partnering with strategic corporations.

According to Smith, the European push is part of a larger trans-Atlantic approach to investing to help companies cross the pond, regardless of which side they are on.

They have several options: President Biden’s $369 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is crammed with subsidies, tax credits, and rebates for climate hardware and infrastructure, while Europe has mandated scope three emissions accounting, which includes emissions from a company’s value chain; implemented anti-greenwashing legislation; and reformed extended producer responsibility, which holds manufacturers accountable for the waste their products generate.

According to Smith, California and New York are beginning to mirror Europe’s efforts. Because of the bloc’s head start, its startups could establish themselves as market leaders in the United States, he added.

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