Cleantech investment 2010 YTD

Over $5 Bil in US Cleantech and Energy Transition Focused Venture Funds Raised in last Year

The market continues to move aggressively.  A number of notable new energy transition venture funds have closed despite the pandemic. We are tracking around $6-7 Billion in energy transition private venture capital raised since the pandemic started or expected to close this year. Tracking favorably to support venture investment even compared to the cleantech investing boom a decade ago.

In 1Q we announced the launch and 1st close of our Energy Transition Ventures fund, an early stage venture capital fund focused on energy transition related startups primarily at Seed and Series A stage.  It is backed by and partnered with two operating companies of Korean conglomerate GS Group, formerly the energy, power, construction, and retail business of LG.  GS Group in parallel launched a new CVC in the Silicon Valley in the area, GS Futures, and has been a highly active investor in tech venture funds in US and Asia in its own right, as well as a 50/50 joint venture partner with Chevron in GS Caltex, one of the largest refineries in the world. CNN – The last clean energy boom turned to bust. Will this time be any different? Bloomberg – Venture Capitalists bet on Houston as Gateway to the Post Oil World. Cleantechnica – Big Renewable Energy Bucks Head for Texas. My partner and I come from Accel Partners and Jane Capital and Shell, with significant success investing in earlier cleantech waves. We didn’t expect to be alone, and certainly aren’t.

Pandemic fund capital raising has been busy in cleantech and energy transition. A lot of it has been from energy teams or seasoned VCs who grew up in prior cleantech investing waves.

DBL Partners, long one of the earliest and leading cleantech investors who backed Tesla, Solar City and others, raised it’s 4th fund, $600 mm, for early and later stage venture deals in the sector. Though DBL today also includes Ira Ehrenpreis, formerly of Technology Partners, another long time cleantech investor who joined Nancy Pfund and team in DBL to put together the prior DBL III fund in 2015.

Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund announced at $2 Bil in June 2020, though unclear how much that was already spoken for. Rodrigo Prudencio, formerly a Principal one of the other cleantech VC pioneers Nth Power, had moved to Amazon and help to launch this.

The Bill Gates led Breakthrough Energy Ventures – whose large investment team is heavy with people from startups and earlier venture funds, announced its second, $1 Bil climate and cleantech focused vc fund this year.

G2VP – the late stage Kleiner Perkins green growth spinout fund announced it raises $500 mm fund to focus on growth phase investments in the energy transition.

Congruent Ventures, whose founders came from longtime investors Prelude and Rockport, raised its second early stage fund $175 mm

Chevron Technology Ventures, the longest running corporate venture capital fund in oil & gas, closes a second climate focused fund with a $300 mm Future Energies Fund

A newer player, Blue Bear Capital, including a founder from energy PE fund Riverstone, has reportedly closed off on its second fund.

And in moves that also did not happen in prior cycles, Texas energy PE funds have been making moves into energy transition, joining long time player Natural Gas Partners. Well known energy focused PE funds like SCF Partners, Carnelian and CSL have all launched 1st time allocations for venture capital in the last year, focused on energy transitions as well as oil & gas technology.

In a sign of times to come, energy PE powerhouse EnCap also closed a dedicated $1.2 Bil Energy Transition Fund I infrastructure fund for energy transition, and long time infrastructure player Arclight hired my former colleague, ex Shell, Castile and Battery Ventures vc Carl Stjernfeldt to expand its fund offering in the area.

We are tracking another dozen or so funds in process in the area.
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