Rolls-Royce, Qatar to invest billions in green startups

Rolls-Royce and Qatar Foundation have announced they will enter into a long-term partnership to create a global centre for climate technology innovation — and construct campuses in the North of England and in Qatar that create thousands of jobs.

The collaboration intends to create up to five “unicorns” by 2030 and 20 by 2040.

A “unicorn” is a privately held start-up company valued at over $1 billion.

A detailed analysis will be completed to finalise the design of the centre and select locations for campuses in both countries.

This is expected to conclude in mid-2022.

Rolls-Royce said the North of England has been identified as a location “to reflect the scale of the intended physical campus, alongside access to necessary skills” and to manufacturing infrastructure.

“As partners, Rolls-Royce and Qatar Foundation will develop two world-class campuses dedicated to launching, investing in and growing businesses that can accelerate the global energy transition,” said Rolls-Royce.

“The centre will help entrepreneurs create and grow new climate technology businesses, aided by academic leadership, funds for R&D and early-stage venture capital investment.

“Businesses will be able to use infrastructure on the campuses to test, prove and scale their technologies, enabling them to have a rapid impact.

“This integrated approach is a global first in climate technology.

“Qatar Foundation and Rolls-Royce are ambitious in their vision for the centre and for the scale of investment and technological change it will create.

“To address the challenge of climate change, the world needs tangible, technology-driven businesses at a scale that matters.

“This centre is intended to create and scale-up businesses worth multi-billions of pounds.

“Rolls-Royce and Qatar Foundation will work in partnership to build the campuses, generating up to 1,000 jobs in the centres, and at least 10,000 within the related start-up companies and broader ecosystem by 2040.

“A substantial investment pool will be created for venture funding at the scale needed to create global climate tech businesses with real impact and in anticipation that third-party investors will co-invest, with a target to grow up to 5 unicorns by 2030, and up to 20 by 2040, driving significant economic value for investment partners …”

Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East said: “Rolls-Royce has pioneered power since its inception and we are already playing a key role in accelerating the energy transition in some of the hardest sectors to decarbonise.

“For us, the transition to net zero is both a societal imperative and an excellent commercial opportunity.

“This partnership with Qatar Foundation will enable us to accelerate progress in clean energy, including by allowing us to fully take advantage of nascent technologies that could have a significant impact on tackling climate change.”