New Nordic alliance to focus resources on urban challenges

Claus Mathison has stepped aside as CEO of Nordic firm NREP in order to lead Copenhagen-headquartered Urban Partners, described as an investment platform which integrates four “verticals” that focus on real estate, venture capital, private equity and credit.

Claus Mathison.

Venture capital firm 2150, credit platform Velo Capital, and a new private equity investor, Luma Equity, will join NREP in the new Urban Partners group. The partners explained that the aim is to adopt a partnership-first approach to investment to unlock capital in order to address the complex social, economic, and environmental challenges facing cities.

A statement issued on Friday said that the creation of Urban Partners makes available a dedicated pool of constructive capital to invest in assets, companies and technologies that will accelerate decarbonisation and transform urban neighbourhoods in partnership with cities. There is €5 billion available to invest immediately.

Mikkel Bülow-Lehnsby, the co-founder of NREP and its CEO until 2018, went on to co-found 2150, has now become chair of Urban Partners. “We launched Urban Partners to bridge the gap between the interests of people, cities, and capital.

“Misalignment between these has led to inadequate, sometimes even harmful, development of the urban ecosystem – urban sprawl, segregation, and ever rising carbon emissions being the consequence. We want to lead a new era where shared visions deliver shared benefits. Where we put our financial weight and urban expertise into finding solutions to the largest problem out there: making cities liveable for the long-term.”

Mikkel Bülow-Lehnsby.

The platform also called on the real estate and urban investment industries to radically change their approach to investment and how returns are measured to recognise the complexity of urban ecosystems.

At the launch of the new platform, Claus Mathisen, now CEO of Urban Partners, said: “The launch of Urban Partners represents a new investment thesis and a new level of ambition. Only by taking an integrated approach, bringing together expertise from real estate, private capital, and credit will we be able to address the complex challenges of decarbonisation, affordability, health, biodiversity, urban efficiency, and infrastructure that cities face. No-one can solve these challenges alone. We urge our peers to follow our lead.”

“If we are to achieve net zero emissions, we need a massive redistribution of capital towards buildings and industry, which account for more than half of global emissions but attract only 13% of investment. Coming together as Urban Partners will give us the best chance of scaling the companies and solutions that will make the biggest impact on our most pressing sustainability challenges,” Mathison said.

Rune Kock, who joined NREP in 2012, is now the company’s CEO.