Indonesian start-up to fund, advise Southeast Asian biodiversity efforts
An Indonesia-based investment firm that will help drive investments and provide strategic advice on early-stage nature-based businesses in Southeast Asia is having its soft launch this month.
Based in Bali, Terratai will work towards redesigning food production systems to reverse ecosystem impacts and assist start-ups in achieving biodiversity improvements while at the same time addressing climate change.
“Beginning in Indonesia, but with ambitions to expand to the rest of Southeast Asia, our model will offer a clear pathway to address the crisis in our food systems … to mitigate the impact of climate change on ASEAN countries, and to address the chronic shortage of financing for nature,” Terratai company documents said.
Long-term financing is a problem for conservation efforts, and is a prime challenge the start-up wants to address, including looking at the emerging voluntary biodiversity credit market as a potential funding source to ensure project longevity and stability.
“Terratai is Asia’s first ‘nature venture builder’, explicitly designed to provide early-stage investment and company-building services to support and co-create pre-seed/seed stage businesses that halt and reverse ecosystem and biodiversity loss in Asia’s most at-risk land and seascapes, enabling them to attract institutional capital,” the company said.
The company has been founded by CEO Matt Leggett, who for the past eight years has worked for the World Conservation Society from the UK, Singapore, and Indonesia, on the back of previous experience with WWF UK, the Global Canopy Programme, and the University of Oxford.
Terratai has been incubated by Hong Kong-based family office RS Group, and will in particular be focusing on sustainable agricultural transitions, enhancing ecosystem services, including in forest, soil, and blue carbon, and ecosystem and biodiversity restoration.
RS Group’s Yuni Choi will act as Terratai’s chief investment officer, while the company is still building its team after being formed in October.
The soft launch comes just weeks after negotiators from almost 200 countries last month agreed on a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework at COP15 in Montreal.
Elements of that agreement are intended to boost private-sector investment in order to help close the estimated $700 billion global annual biodiversity funding gap, such as payment for ecosystem services, green bonds, biodiversity offsets and credits, and benefit-sharing mechanisms.