European electric company E.ON, based in Germany, is launching a new venture capital fund - Future Energy Ventures - which will invest in businesses seeking to redefine the energy landscape.
The fund is worth €250m and will focus on digital, scalable businesses looking for Series A funding and beyond. The fund is being led by Ines Bergmann-Nolting and Jan Lozek and will be used to invest more into companies already owned by E.ON, as well new companies around the world.
E.ON is the latest in a line of corporate companies to set up funds for startups working on energy technology. BP has invested $400m in 40 startups, for example, and Chevron has invested in several emerging energy technologies, including carbon capture and solid oxide fuel cells.
“The entire energy ecosystem is being transformed by technology at an ever-accelerating pace creating significant investment opportunities,” said Jan Lozek, managing partner of the new Future Energy Ventures fund.
A key focus of the fund will be on green technologies. "We are racing against the clock to redefine the future energy landscape and secure the future of our planet," explains Lozek. "The faster we reach decarbonization, the more chances we have of survival."
"As investors, our role is to support the founders creating the digital and digitally enabled technologies that can help reach the essential objective of decarbonization faster," he said.
Future Ventures’ portfolio consists of startups previously invested in by E.ON, including Bidgely, which uses AI to detect information about customer’s utility usage, and German startup Thermondo, which wants to digitalise the heating market.
E.ON also bought Innogy, a renewable energy utility provider, in 2018, through a €43bn asset swap deal between the two companies and RWE.
The fund hopes to bring their expertise to the startups, as well as financing. “Businesses need more than just money to succeed,” said Ines Bergmann-Nolting, managing partner. “They need collaboration, mentoring and the opportunity to partner with other organisations that can help them achieve scale.”
The fund is not the only one to announce more money for emerging energy technology this week. Rockstart, a Dutch fund, announced on Wednesday that it had secured €21m to invest in more startups, adding to the 230 companies it has already supported.