Tin Shed Ventures is Patagonia’s corporate venture capital fund, which invests in start-ups that offer solutions to the environmental crisis. Originally launched as $20 Million and Change in May 2013, Tin Shed Ventures partners with businesses focused on building renewable energy infrastructure, practicing regenerative organic agriculture, conserving water, diverting waste and creating sustainable materials. The Tin Shed name is rooted in Patagonia’s history. In 1957, a young climber named Yvon Chouinard decided to make his own reusable hardware. Using supplies procured from a junkyard, he taught himself how to blacksmith. By 1970, Chouinard Equipment had become the largest supplier of climbing hardware in North America—produced in a tin shed in Ventura, California. But there was a problem. The company’s gear was damaging the rock as popular routes had to endure repeated hammering of steel pitons. So Chouinard decided to phase out of the piton business, even though it comprised 70 percent of the company’s sales at the time. He introduced an alternative: aluminum chocks that could be wedged in the rock and removed by hand, rather than hammered and left behind. The audacious move worked. Within a few months, the new chocks sold faster than they could be made. Patagonia has since expanded from a climbing hardware company into a global outdoor apparel brand with $800 million in sales while maintaining a strict commitment to sustainability in its products and supply chain. Tin Shed Ventures is funding the next generation of responsible business leaders who share these core values.

We started the fund because we felt existing models for start-up capital were broken. Traditional investors tend to focus on short-term growth and profit, then quickly flip the companies in which they invest. We take a completely different approach to investing. We place environmental and social returns on equal footing with financial returns and provide long-term, patient capital that helps to support forward-thinking entrepreneurs for the long haul.  Overall, our aim is to support like-minded start-ups that embody Patagonia’s mission to “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

Because we take this unconventional approach, our coalition of companies has been able to do some incredible things. In addition to investments aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save water and regenerate soil health, our solar investments are providing clean energy for thousands of households throughout the US.  We consistently rally together with fellow B Corps to develop solutions to the environmental crisis and magnify the impact of our investments.

Ultimately, the goal of Tin Shed Ventures is to prove that business—and investments—can be engines for positive change. We’re excited to fund and mentor the next generation of responsible businesses, and we hope other investors will join us in doing so.

What is Tin Shed Ventures?

Tin Shed Ventures is the internal fund set up by Patagonia to help like-minded start-up companies. The fund’s name was originally $20 Million & Change, a nod to the fact that “$20 million” is the starting amount with the ability to grow and, more importantly, with the ability to “change” the way business is done.

Is this where the 1% for the Planet® money goes?

No. The capital that Tin Shed Ventures invests is separate from the 1% of revenues that Patagonia pledges to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment through 1% for the Planet.  Tin Shed Ventures does not “donate” money, but rather “invests” in businesses that will be able to positively impact the environment and generate a profit over the long term.

In which industries does Tin Shed Ventures invest?

In addition to sustainable materials and technologies that can be applied to the outdoor apparel and equipment supply chain, we target businesses that aim to save water, reduce waste, generate clean energy and embrace regenerative agriculture practices.

At what stage does Tin Shed Ventures invest?

We typically invest in a Seed or Series A round, but are able to invest in later rounds if there is an obvious fit with the business and other prior investors.

Will Tin Shed Ventures invest if all I have is an idea? 

Tin Shed Ventures does not bet solely on ideas. We like to work with entrepreneurs who have already established initial operations and established a leadership team, developed a prototype and/or started development on the completion of its product or service. It is even better when a business has already started to generate revenues and has received initial feedback from the market or users of the product.

How much does Tin Shed Ventures typically invest?

Our sweet spot for a typical initial investment is $500K, with additional capital reserved for later rounds.

Will Tin Shed Ventures own my company and take over?!

No! We do not take a controlling stake in portfolio companies and do not require a seat on the board of directors. We only invest in entrepreneurs who we believe can run and grow the business. They are the experts and people devoting their lives to their business’ success. We want to lend support by connecting them with people in our network, or at Patagonia, and providing access to resources to accelerate product development.

About / History


Tin Shed Ventures is Patagonia’s corporate venture capital fund, which invests in start-ups that offer solutions to the environmental crisis. Originally launched as $20 Million and Change in May 2013, Tin Shed Ventures partners with businesses focused on building renewable energy infrastructure, practicing regenerative organic agriculture, conserving water, diverting waste and creating sustainable materials. The Tin Shed name is rooted in Patagonia’s history. In 1957, a young climber named Yvon Chouinard decided to make his own reusable hardware. Using supplies procured from a junkyard, he taught himself how to blacksmith. By 1970, Chouinard Equipment had become the largest supplier of climbing hardware in North America—produced in a tin shed in Ventura, California. But there was a problem. The company’s gear was damaging the rock as popular routes had to endure repeated hammering of steel pitons. So Chouinard decided to phase out of the piton business, even though it comprised 70 percent of the company’s sales at the time. He introduced an alternative: aluminum chocks that could be wedged in the rock and removed by hand, rather than hammered and left behind. The audacious move worked. Within a few months, the new chocks sold faster than they could be made. Patagonia has since expanded from a climbing hardware company into a global outdoor apparel brand with $800 million in sales while maintaining a strict commitment to sustainability in its products and supply chain. Tin Shed Ventures is funding the next generation of responsible business leaders who share these core values.

We started the fund because we felt existing models for start-up capital were broken. Traditional investors tend to focus on short-term growth and profit, then quickly flip the companies in which they invest. We take a completely different approach to investing. We place environmental and social returns on equal footing with financial returns and provide long-term, patient capital that helps to support forward-thinking entrepreneurs for the long haul.  Overall, our aim is to support like-minded start-ups that embody Patagonia’s mission to “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

Because we take this unconventional approach, our coalition of companies has been able to do some incredible things. In addition to investments aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save water and regenerate soil health, our solar investments are providing clean energy for thousands of households throughout the US.  We consistently rally together with fellow B Corps to develop solutions to the environmental crisis and magnify the impact of our investments.

Ultimately, the goal of Tin Shed Ventures is to prove that business—and investments—can be engines for positive change. We’re excited to fund and mentor the next generation of responsible businesses, and we hope other investors will join us in doing so.

FAQ


What is Tin Shed Ventures?

Tin Shed Ventures is the internal fund set up by Patagonia to help like-minded start-up companies. The fund’s name was originally $20 Million & Change, a nod to the fact that “$20 million” is the starting amount with the ability to grow and, more importantly, with the ability to “change” the way business is done.

Is this where the 1% for the Planet® money goes?

No. The capital that Tin Shed Ventures invests is separate from the 1% of revenues that Patagonia pledges to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment through 1% for the Planet.  Tin Shed Ventures does not “donate” money, but rather “invests” in businesses that will be able to positively impact the environment and generate a profit over the long term.

In which industries does Tin Shed Ventures invest?

In addition to sustainable materials and technologies that can be applied to the outdoor apparel and equipment supply chain, we target businesses that aim to save water, reduce waste, generate clean energy and embrace regenerative agriculture practices.

At what stage does Tin Shed Ventures invest?

We typically invest in a Seed or Series A round, but are able to invest in later rounds if there is an obvious fit with the business and other prior investors.

Will Tin Shed Ventures invest if all I have is an idea? 

Tin Shed Ventures does not bet solely on ideas. We like to work with entrepreneurs who have already established initial operations and established a leadership team, developed a prototype and/or started development on the completion of its product or service. It is even better when a business has already started to generate revenues and has received initial feedback from the market or users of the product.

How much does Tin Shed Ventures typically invest?

Our sweet spot for a typical initial investment is $500K, with additional capital reserved for later rounds.

Will Tin Shed Ventures own my company and take over?!

No! We do not take a controlling stake in portfolio companies and do not require a seat on the board of directors. We only invest in entrepreneurs who we believe can run and grow the business. They are the experts and people devoting their lives to their business’ success. We want to lend support by connecting them with people in our network, or at Patagonia, and providing access to resources to accelerate product development.