The venture funds are part of Footprint Coalition, a project Downey Jr. announced in 2019 (coalition also has a nonprofit that supports early scientific research, and completes storytelling about sustainable technologies).
The Footprint Coalition said it has made investments in five companies to date: Arcadia Earth, a media platform; RWDC Industries, a biotech company; Ÿnsect, an insect protein company; Aspiration, a socially conscious online bank; and Cloud Paper, a maker of bamboo-based paper products.
Footprint Coalition can also create content to help educate consumers or “normalize the adoption of things that might seem abnormal at first.” When asked if he might star in a video about eating insect protein, Downey Jr. said: “I don’t see why not.”
“This just feels so vital,” Downey Jr. says, calling the venture funds “a commitment to wanting to really get knee-deep in the problem solving.”
The two venture funds, both an early-stage and another for later-stage investments, are structured as rolling funds, also known as subscription funds.
“We reach this really activated audience around a subject that [they] are very passionate about, and we want the audience to really engage in the value creation,” says Jonathan Schulhof, who heads Footprint Coalition Ventures.
"We like opening access. It really speaks to what our ethos is.” adds Downey Jr.
The funds will focus on six investment areas: food and agriculture, energy and transportation, education and media, materials, and what it called advanced environmental solutions.
Downey Jr. plans to use his profile and storytelling skills to help advance his investments. In fact he has made a Footprint Coalition video that explains the difference between plastic and polyhydroxyalkanoate, a biodegradable polymer that RWDC Industries, a Footprint company, is developing.