Inven Capital, an independent venture firm allied to its 100% equity holder CEZ, the Czech energy utility, has launched the second phase of its clean tech collaboration with the European Investment Bank.
The second iteration will once again invest €50 million in clean tech and decarbonisation startups, following the initial phase from 2017 to 2022.
Inven Capital operates as an independent VC, but its entire share capital is held by CEZ. The Czech corporate has committed over €210 million to the programme from 2022 to 2027, giving Inven north of €260 million to spend on partnership investments. Inven's total funding is sized at more than €500 million, and the venture firm screened around 3,200 deal leads from 2015 to 2022. In that time, Inven exited five companies and reported a 36% average investment return.
EU SMEs in the cleantech and decarbonisation sectors will be eligible for equity funding from the latest leg of the programme.
A secondary motive is to reduce energy consumption and reliance on Russian gas supplies.
Until now, Inven and EIB's portfolio bets have included Germany-based green hydrogen producer Sunfire, whose installations have so far rescued more than 250 kilotonnes of carbon leaking into the atmosphere. In addition, Inven/EIB portfolio company Woltair is preventing households from discharging more than 8,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.
Based in Prague, Woltair connects consumers to PV panel and heat pump installation service providers, while optimising each installation for energy efficiency, through use of its smart buildings software. Back when Tech.EU tracked Woltair's €16.3 million round in September, the founders reported 4x annual growth.
Petr Mikovec, managing director and chairman of the board at Inven Capital, said: "We view this continued partnership with the EIB as a major commitment in continuing to support outstanding startups with positive carbon reduction impact.
"In line with ČEZ Group’s Vision 2030, we at Inven Capital consider sustainability as one of our core values, implementing ESG (environmental, social and governance) screening into our investment process and actively supporting our portfolio companies in applying sustainable best practices.”
Tomáš Pleskač, chief renewable energy and distribution officer, ČEZ, added: "Inven Capital has gradually broadened its scope of investments, and its portfolio significantly contributes to clean, sustainable, decentralised energy and to reducing global CO2 emissions in all areas of the economy, including transport, industry, international freight and agriculture.
"We are delighted with the European Investment Bank’s trust and appreciation of the fund’s work thus far and we look forward to our continued cooperation.”