Razer ups green game with $50M startup fund

Games hardware maker establishes $50 million "green fund" as part of its 10-year sustainability plan, with the aim to invest in startups focusing on the market such as The Nurturing Co, which produces bamboo toilet paper.

Games hardware maker Razer has set up a $50 million fund that aims to invest in startups that focus on sustainable products and services. The first of such startups to benefit is The Nurturing Co., which portfolio includes bamboo toilet paper and home care brands. 

Dubbed the Razer Green Fund, the initiative is part of the company's 10-year sustainability plan that encompasses various goals such as disclosing the carbon impact of its products by next year, the use of 100% renewable energy by 2025, and a commitment for all its products to use recycled or recyclable materials by 2030. 

The new startup fund would be parked under Razer's corporate ventures arm zVentures and be "an integral part" of the Singapore-headquartered company investment moves. It said the Green Fund would look to drive sustainability companies, focusing on renewable energy as well as carbon and plastic management. 

Razer is aiming to fully carbon-neutral by 2030, including all of its office operations. 

The first beneficiary of the Green Fund, The Nurturing Co. had received a seed investment and would supply its Bambooloo bamboo toilet paper to some of Razer's global offices, including its office in Malaysia and new Southeast Asian headquarters in Singapore, which was slated to open soon. 

When open, this new building would be powered by renewable energy, following in the footsteps of Razer's European outfit in Hamburg.

According to The Nurturing Co., bamboo pulp required 90% less water and 70% less carbon to produce compared to wood pulp, making it a more sustainable choice for toilet paper. 

The Singapore-based company also would be tapping Razer's ecosystem to expand its businesses. 

Asked for details on the seed investment, a Razer spokesperson told ZDNet the company did not reveal exact numbers regarding its venture investment, but noted that the average figure spanned from $100,000 to $1 million. 

"Our partners [also] will have access to Razer's ecosystem and global network," she said. "This would provide the startups with more than enough resources to scale up their businesses and deliver innovative technology to protect the environment for future generations."

She added that the company typically made its investments for an equity stake or via a convertible instrument that converted into equity in the startup. 

Razer also was pledging for all its products and packaging to be recyclable by 2025, including their disposal by consumers and global distributors. By 2030, this would expand to the use of recycled or recyclable materials for all products by 2030, which would incorporate PCR plastics. 

Singapore last November introduced a scheme to buffer expenses incurred by companies when they engaged independent service providers to validate the green credentials of a loan. It also offered financial support to encourage banks to develop loan frameworks that make such financing more accessible to small and medium-sized businesses. Provided under the new Green and Sustainability-linked Loan Grant Scheme (GSLS), the initiatives were part of the city-state's goal to develop green and sustainable financial markets as well as products to support Asia's move towards a low-carbon future.

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