Billionaire Richard Branson is set to defy the downturn by completing the $400m (£240m) fundraising for his energy venture in renewables within two months

The Virgin Green Fund, based in London and San Francisco, will be one of the few private-equity style funds to raise its target amount this year when it reaches its final close in September.

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The fund ploughs $5m-$100m into growing renewable energy sectors such as biomass and solar power in the US and western Europe. Several investments have already been made – last year, it led a $14.5m funding round in GreenRoad Technologies, a start-up that helps reduce car fuel usage.

Mr Branson is believed to have put $100m into the fund, with the remainder coming from institutional investors. The fund is seeking returns of up to 30 per cent.

The private equity adviser MVision is raising the fund, which is run by an 11-strong team. These include partners Evan Lovell, Shai Weiss, and Anup Jacob, who co-founded the fund.

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