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WeSustain raises €4M Series B from VNT Management, HTGF, KfW and MBG

Ecosummit TV: Every company in every industry has to go green and make and sell sustainable products. At the same time, smart green investors take sustainability reports very seriously when making investment decisions. In September 2014, the EU Commission issued their long-awaited directive for mandatory sustainability reports for companies with more than 500 employees that has to be translated into national law within 2 years. Now Enterprise Sustainability Management (ESM) software providers like WeSustain are en vogue. CEO Manfred Heil expects the market to triple within the next 4 years. Customer references like Daimler, Commerzbank and Allianz as well as reseller Telekom will help the well positioned German startup and its team of 20 employees to grow even faster than the market.

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Eternal Sun raises €2M Series A from Vermec

How can you guarantee the performance of solar panels over a long period of time, let’s say 20 years? By simulating sunshine and testing the solar panels in a controlled lab environment with powerful and energy efficient lamps, e.g. Heliospectra LEDs. Chokri Mousaoui (CEO) and Stefan Roest (CTO) co-founded Eternal Sun in 2011 after they developed their first solar simulator prototype at Delft University of Technology. As their second and third prototype were already paid by pilot customers, the founders managed to reach product/market fit very quickly and bootstrap their smart green startup to €1M revenues in 2014 while keeping a clean 50:50 cap table until their Series A. In July 2011, they moved into the incubator YesDelft where they are still located. The role of TU Delft and its ecosystem cannot be overestimated as 9 out of 11 employees were educated at the university. We first saw Chokri pitching in front of the Climate-KIC accelerator jury at Utrechtinc on 5 July 2012. 2 months later, we went together on the first Climate-KIC USA Startup Tour to Silicon Valley, Washington and Boston. Then Stefan came to Ecosummit Düsseldorf 2012 in November to look for investors.

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Alex Farcet pitches Startupbootcamp and its smart transportation and energy accelerator

Ecosummit TV: Alex Farcet pitches Startupbootcamp and its smart transportation and energy accelerator at ECO14 Berlin. While corporate accelerators are mushrooming in the US and Europe, Startupbootcamp is an independent accelerator founded in 2010 that runs 3-month programmes focused on verticals in several cities including Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Berlin. The idea is to give startups the best possible start by providing €20K for 8% equity, intensive workshops with mentors on product and customer development and a final pitch in a room packed with investors. SBCBerlin‘s smart transportation and energy demo day was a big show and featured 11 young startups raising seed rounds from angels. Sunride, Comodule, Rokka Solutions, Houseahedron and Mybus have great teams that are ready for closer inspection. According to Alex, a good accelerator acts like a co-founder and adds a lot of measurable value in a short period of time. The startups we met all confirmed that Startupbootcamp and its mentors delivered on their promises. However, for smart green startups 3 months are rather short to reach product/market fit. It may be worthwhile to double the programme length in future editions.

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George Hanna pitches Qinous

Ecosummit TV: George Hanna pitches Qinous at ECO14 Berlin. Qinous develops smart energy storage and management systems for offgrid and ongrid applications starting at 30 KW and going up to the MW scale by combining a large number of battery systems. Qinous acts as a solution provider that makes the system in Berlin and then ships it to the customer ready for installation. Being independent of the underlying battery technology, there is a strong focus on thorough battery testing as part of the design and production process. Founded in Q4 2013, the smart green startup raised their seed round from Investitionsbank Berlin in Q1 2014 and sold the first system in Q2 2014. That’s what we call fast execution. Next year, Qinous plans to raise their Series A from strategic investors and is very interested in getting to know the best smart green VCs in Europe.

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Stephan Schulze and Konstantin Hanssen present Investitionsbank Berlin

Ecosummit TV: According to Stephan Schulze of IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft, Berlin is a smart green business location for startups that has changed tremendously during the last 25 years. In fact, we count more than 30 fundable smart green startups in Berlin of which 5 are backed by IBB: Ubitricity, Thermondo, Geo-en, ECF Farmsystems and Qinous. IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft was founded in 1997 as a 100% subsidiary of Investitionsbank Berlin, the business development bank of Berlin. Next to venture capital, IBB provides a lot of support to SMEs including grants, public loans, bank credits, guarantees and mezzanine capital. IBB is a well-connected local business partner that always keeps their door open for ambitious founders based in Berlin or planning to relocate.

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Sonnenbatterie raises €7.5M Series B from Munich Venture Partners, Chrysalix SET and Ecapital

Sonnenbatterie raises €7.5M in their Series B financing round from the co-investors Munich Venture Partners, Chrysalix SET and Ecapital. The Bavarian startup sold over 4.000 smart energy storage systems and is one of the fastest growing smart green startups in Germany. We like Sonnenbatterie since their first pitch at Ecosummit Düsseldorf 2012. In January 2013, Ecapital invested €3M in the Series A. At ECO13 Berlin, Sonnenbatterie won Ecosummit Award 2013 Bronze and Philipp Schröder, now at Tesla, performed a great pitch. Sonnenbatterie also joined our first Ecosummit London 2013. In March 2014, we co-hosted our first Ecosummit Advisor Workshop in the energy village Wildpoldsried. Among our advisors were Martin Kröner (MVP) and Rene Savelsberg (Chrysalix SET) and, as you can see, they went home more impressed than ever before. At ECO14 Berlin, Sonnenbatterie won Ecosummit Award 2014 Gold and Benjamin Schott jumped on stage. At ECO14 London, Christoph Ostermann pitched again after we enjoyed an incredible sponsor dinner at Home House and then got lost in London’s taxi underground. Now it is time to celebrate before doubling annual production and revenues in the years to come. Long live Sonnenbatterie and very big the exit shall be.

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Knut Hechtfischer pitches Ubitricity at Ecosummit Berlin 2014

Ecosummit TV: Although he didn’t leave our sponsor dinner as the first guest the night before, Knut Hechtfischer delivered his best pitch at ECO14 Berlin so far. Ubitricity has got a great story that is acknowledged by an increasing number of VCs and industry experts. This year Ubitricity entered Cleantech Group’s 2014 Global Cleantech 100 – next to 7 more startups that pitched at Ecosummit in the past. Moreover, the Berlin-based smart green startup won EDF Germany as strategic investor and has got a product ready for market. Ubitricity wants to make smart charging affordable by enabling mobile metering in the virtual power grid. They bring together electric mobility and mobile electricity in a very simple, yet powerful way. The key idea is to put the intelligence into the charging cable. This allows for a cost reduction of 90% when installing smart sockets (thin charging stations) in street lights, garages and any other place you can imagine. In 2015, Ubitricity rolls out in Germany and we are curious to see how EV drivers, fleet operators, municipalities and utilities adopt this smart charging service.

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Philipp Schroeder presents Tesla on its way to the most valuable car company in the world

Ecosummit TV: This year Ecosummit partnered with Tesla Motors to provide Model S test drives and first-hand insight into the automotive future invented in California. Following a 100% electric strategy since its foundation in 2003, Tesla forces the big automakers to accelerate their electric transformation, too. In February, Philipp Schroeder joined Tesla from Sonnenbatterie and now manages sales and business development in Germany and Austria. At ECO14 Berlin, Philipp agreed that Tesla is on its way to become the most valuable car company in the world. When we wrote about the super hero of the smart green economy in May 2011, Tesla was valued at $2.6B. Now it has a market cap of $30.6B and expects to deliver 33.000 cars to its customers in 2014. BMW, the German car maker with the strongest electric mobility strategy thanks to the purpose built EVs i3 and i8 and the inhouse carbon fiber production, is valued at $60.3B delivering 2 million cars this year (BMW investor presentation Nov 2014). When Tesla’s Model III, priced at $35.000, starts racing against the BMW 3 series in 2017, we will find out quickly how car drivers really think when making their next purchase decision.

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Ecosummit Berlin 2015 takes place on 19-20 May 2015 at the Radialsystem

Ecosummit TV: We are very happy to announce our 9th conference Ecosummit Berlin 2015 taking place on 19-20 May 2015 at the Radialsystem – the best event location in Europe’s leading smart green city for startups. As a warm up, we share the opening of ECO14 Berlin on Ecosummit TV. Last year, the theme of Ecosummit was Accelerating Smart Green Startups. We believe that everybody should think and act like an accelerator trying to reduce capital and time to market while growing the team and revenues faster. This is what our industry needs: Faster startups and bigger exits. While a fast and small exit that results in an aquihire for the buyer may be a good thing, what VCs and LPs really want are big exits by big startups that have big economic and ecological impact. To make big exits happen, founders and their investors have to constantly work on the 4 success factors of startups: People, capital, product and customers. Only if you have the best team, enough capital, a competitive product and lots of happy customers, you are able to become a global market leader. At ECO15 Berlin on 19-20 May 2015, we will continue to work together on accelerating smart green startups aiming at big exits.

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Alexander Zosel gives an update on the development of their electric Volocopter VC200

Ecosummit TV: Alexander Zosel gives an update on the development of their electric Volocopter VC200 at ECO13 London. E-volo was founded in 2011, was funded by the founders with €450K and raised €1.2M in an amazing crowdfunding round on Seedmatch in November 2013. Moreover, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy granted €2M to contribute to the multi-company project development budget. The first unmanned test flight of the 2-seater VC200 was carried out on 17 November 2013 in Karlsruhe. Currently, E-volo works on the temporary certification from the German aviation authority for their ultralight aircraft (maximum takeoff weight of 450 kg) to start manned test flights. Initially targeting the aerial sports market E-volo has the vision to become a global market leader for urban aviation in the next 10 years. Risk-friendly VCs that love high-tech made in Germany and electric aviation should get in touch with Alex. Full disclosure: Ecosummit is one of E-volo’s crowd investors.

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Rune Wendelbo pitches Graphene Batteries from Norway

Ecosummit TV: Graphene is a very promising material that won the Nobel prize in 2010. CTO Rune Wendelbo pitches Graphene Batteries from Norway at ECO13 London. The Oslo-based startup targets the market for batteries in transportation that is forecasted to be $21B in 2020 and develops the active material on the cathode, a key component that represents 25% of the value of the battery. Rune and his team claim that their Graphene-LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) composite for the cathode promises increased energy density, lifetime, safety as well as non-toxic production. On a lab scale Graphene Batteries achieved proof of concept but they still need to demonstrate that their manufacturing process is scalable. To establish the pilot production Rune wants to raise $2.2M and thinks that an exit to a chemical corporate with a strong position in the battery business could happen within 3 years.

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Gina Domanig chats with Jan Michael Hess about being a smart green VC

Ecosummit TV: Gina Domanig is a pioneer of cleantech venture capital. She got started in 2000 after a tempting call from a headhunter. Since then, Zurich-based Emerald Technology Ventures raised 3 funds and has got €370M of assets under management. Gina likes being a smart green VC because it is a multi-dimensional job involving technology, finance, industrial applications, transactions and, most importantly, lots of smart and inspiring people. It is also a tough job because you have to be available all the time for your portfolio and LPs. Gina travels almost every week, spends 50% of her time with the portfolio companies and the rest with investors, dealflow and fund management. In today’s environment, VCs have to be very involved in securing the ongoing financing of a startup, helping them recruit the best team and making the connections with the relevant corporates who may become customers, partners or even acquirers when it’s time for an exit. Next to the startups, the real customers of the VC are the investors. The majority of Emerald’s LPs are corporates whose key motivation for fund investments is fostering open innovation. There is a lot to learn from Gina and we are grateful that she joined ECO14 Berlin.

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