home tickets

Smart green VCs you should know

Since 2010, we got to know many smart green VCs in Europe and the US and have written 44 short fund profiles (last update: 2 August 2016). In the VC food chain, there are early stage investors who love to invest, at lower valuations and higher risk, in young startups that are just about to take their technology innovation from lab to fab and to the market. At the same time, many late stage VCs prefer a shorter time-to-exit and late stage startups with more than €2M revenues in 2015, strong management teams and lower technology and market risk. The result are different investment strategies and portfolios that startups should know before pitching. A positive trend is the increasing number of corporates that want to do business with startups, inspired by open innovation and corporate venturing. Let’s co-invest and accelerate the best smart green startups we know to fast growth and global impact.

Read more

Ecosummit rocks Amsterdam on 7 July 2016 at Rockstart

This year we bring Ecosummit for the first time to Amsterdam because we like the city and believe it is a good business idea. During the last few months we worked very hard to make it happen and digged deep into the Dutch smart green innovation community. We got a lot of positive response from old and new Ecosummit friends and also sent a few one-way emails into the local internet whose inbox owners don’t value our European startup platform as much as we do – not yet. This is going to change next week when Ecosummit rocks Amsterdam on 7 July at Rockstart, the famous Dutch startup accelerator founded in 2011 by the serial entrepreneur and Yoga enthusiast Oscar Kneppers and a few of his business buddies. Since 2014, Rockstart is an Ecosummit partner that showcases their smart energy portfolio every year on stage and Ecosummit TV. In March 2016, the lottery-funded impact VC DOEN Foundation invested in Rockstart because both organisations share the same vision that entrepreneurs are able to solve the big problems of our planet, society and economy.

Read more

Climate-KIC showcases Coolar, Prosumergy, MotionTag, Pendula and Orkess at ECO16 Berlin

Ecosummit TV: Malte Schneider presents the Climate-KIC startup showcase at ECO16 Berlin. Since 2012, Climate-KIC Germany partners with Ecosummit and, since 2013, they showcase 5 startups each year that are currently supported by the Climate-KIC Accelerator, Europe’s largest cleantech accelerator. In 2016, Coolar, Prosumergy, MotionTag, Pendula and Orkess went on stage to deliver high-quality pitches and their Ecosummit TV videos are embedded below. Over the years, Climate-KIC has become a very important smart green dealflow source for angels and early stage investors. Congrats to the Climate-KIC team for the great work they do to foster smart green startups in Europe.

Read more

Kiwigrid, Mobisol, Kebony, Lumenaza, BEN Energy and Electrochaea win Ecosummit Award 2016 in Berlin

Ecosummit TV: Ecosummit’s mission is to accelerate smart green startups, investors and corporates with our events and Ecosummit TV. In fact, we accelerated our video production, too, and already uploaded 20 videos mixed live at ECO16 Berlin to YouTube. Last week, 250 happy participants temporarily populated the Radialsystem and enjoyed an amazing conference that was packed with lots of business and investment opportunities. In the evening of the first conference day, 26 April 2016, we announced the 6 new winners of the Ecosummit Award 2016. 58 nominees from 13 countries created public startup profiles on Ecosummit Market and were judged by 43 judges during the online voting before the conference. The 3 ECO16 Award winners in the late stage startup category (> €2M revenues 2015) are: Kiwigrid winning Gold and €1.5K prize money, Mobisol receiving Silver and €1K and Kebony scoring Bronze and €500. The 3 ECO16 Award winners in the early stage startup category (< €2M revenues 2015) are: Lumenaza winning Gold and €1.5K prize money, BEN Energy earning Silver and €1K and Electrochaea collecting Bronze and €500. Congrats to all the winners for convincing our judges that your smart green startup rocks.

Read more

Inven Capital announces €20M investment in Tado at Ecosummit Berlin 2016

Ecosummit TV: Our smart green innovation community is making deals and sharing breaking news at Ecosummit. During their ECO16 Berlin presentation, Petr Mikovec and his Inven Capital team announce their €20M investment in Tado, one of the fastest-growing smart green startups in Germany. The Munich-based late stage startup provides climate control services to households by controlling heating and air conditioning systems. Tado was founded in 2011, pitched at Ecosummit Berlin 2012 for the first time and grew their team to 100 employees. Inven originally contacted Tado in 2015 and wanted to join the last round but it was too late. Eager to get into the deal, Inven today invests alone at a higher valuation than Tado’s last financing round of €15.2M in October 2015. The existing shareholders Siemens Venture Capital, Statkraft Ventures, Target Partners, Shortcut Ventures and BayBG did not participate again and accepted dilution. Christian Deilmann, CEO of Tado, comments: “We currently have a lot of traction growing at 400% annually in 12 European markets, USA and Singapore. Although we are well-funded thanks to our last round in autumn 2015, Inven Capital presented a great opportunity to strengthen our position in Central and Southeastern Europe and further accelerate our growth and innovation leadership. Our goal is an IPO in a couple of years.”

Read more

Late stage startup panel featuring Grundgrün, Ludgate, Alexa Capital and Munich Venture Partners

Ecosummit TV: At ECO15 London, we did a very informative and lively panel about growing and fundraising for late stage startups. The experts on stage include Felix Grolman (Grundgrün), William Weil (Ludgate), Gerard Reid (Alexa Capital) and Martin Kröner (Munich Venture Partners). In the meantime, a lot has happened: Gerard raised $50M for Younicos from First Solar, Panasonic and Grupo ECOS. Bill left Ludgate and joined Greencoat Capital, the CVC of the Irish utility ESB. Felix sold the direct marketing business of Grundgrün to EnBW and Martin invested in Cobi while Kebony raised €19M from PMV, Investinor and existing shareholders. It turns out that fundraising for late stage startups takes a lot of time and needs to be done globally to attract the best strategic investors for the growth strategy of the startup. At the same time, late stage startups need to hire the best management team to manage their growth. In Europe, family offices and corporates increasingly play a leading role in late stage investing and helping European startups become global market leaders.

Read more

Corporate VC panel featuring Baker Botts, Inven Capital, Siemens Venture Capital and Sonnen

Ecosummit TV: Startups need corporates and corporates need startups. At ECO15 London, Tim Lafferty (Global Corporate Venturing) moderates an exciting corporate VC panel featuring Neil Foster (Baker Botts), Petr Mikovec (Inven Capital), Michael Hochholzer (Siemens Venture Capital) and Oliver Koch (Sonnen). It is a good idea to get in touch and start building relationships with corporates in the early stage of the startup. Even if corporates tend to invest at a later stage in a syndicate with financial VCs and other corporates, the strategic alignment of interests between corporates and startups is a key success factor and needs time to be elaborated well. A corporate minority investment usually doesn’t lead to an acquisition. For example, Siemens acquires around 10% of their portfolio companies and this seems to be the industry average. The contractual relationship between startups and corporates should be designed in a smart way that guarantees the strategic and operative freedom of the startup. Every line in the term sheet is flexible if experienced entrepreneurs with good lawyers sit at the table and multiple investors are interested in participating in the startup: Rights of first refusal can be negotiated out and liquidation preferences should not be higher than 1x.

Read more

Smart green angel Frank Thelen invests in Lilium Aviation to fly an electric plane

Ecosummit TV: Electric aviation is the future of aviation. Co-Founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand pitched Lilium Aviation at ECO15 London on 6 October 2015. On 7 March 2016, the famous German smart green angel Frank Thelen invested in Lilium Aviation buying 15% of the company. The Munich-based startup is supported by Climate KIC and develops an electric plane that can take off and land vertically due to tiltable electric engines. The plane has a beautiful design, will travel at 400 km/h and achieve an all-electric range of 500 km. The first manned flight is planned in 2016 and the commercial rollout starts in 2018. The Lilium jet costs €300K and can already be pre-ordered online – Tesla style. We think Lilium Aviation is one of the hottest and most innovative smart green startups in Europe. For sure, Elon Musk will love it, too.

Read more

SET Ventures raises €60M SET Fund II from EIF, Sitra, Shell, Essent, Delta and Korys

Fundraising is tough, time- and travel-intensive and needs a fair amount of salesmanship – not only for startups but also for VCs. Fund managers have to convince fund investors that they can make money for their Limited Partners (LPs). First, General Partners (GPs) need to build a strong portfolio by wisely investing into the best startups they can find. Then they need to create a lot of value post-investment by quickly growing their portfolio companies with the ultimate goal of realising successful exits, i.e. trade sales (the rule) or IPOs (the exception). GPs Rene Savelsberg and Wouter Jonk are Amsterdam-based smart energy VCs who raised their first SET Fund I in 2007 after having learned the trade as Corporate VCs at Philips. Up to now, they have 3 good exits under their belt: Epyon to ABB in 2011, AlertMe to British Gas in 2015 and Sefaira to Trimble on 8 February 2016. Good exits are a key requirement for raising a second fund as LPs look for track record in terms of proven capability to generate returns. Yesterday, SET Ventures announced the first closing of SET Fund II at €60M and plans to add a few more LPs until March 2016.

Read more

Fast-growing solar e-commerce startup Greenergetic attracts investment from RWE

Ecosummit TV: Selling PV systems online is a great business idea for a smart green startup. You can grow at Internet speed and drive the Energiewende by spreading renewable energy. If you want to build your startup in a capital efficient way with a small burn rate, it is also a good idea to minimise your customer acquisition costs by adopting a B2B business model and working with distribution partners. This is exactly what CEO Florian Meyer-Delpho and his co-founders did in 2012 when they launched Greenergetic as a white label portal for utilities to sell PV systems to their customers. At ECO15 Berlin in May, Florian pitched Greenergetic to increase investor demand for their €2M financing round (see Ecosummit TV video below). On 15 December 2015, RWE Vertrieb, the German sales company of RWE with 4 million customers and €12B revenues, announced their minority investment in Greenergetic. While the terms of the deal are undisclosed, we assume that Florian managed to raise a bit more than he was looking for given that Greenergetic expected €5M revenues in 2015.

Read more

Petr Mikovec pitches corporate VC Inven Capital

Ecosummit TV: Petr Mikovec pitches Inven Capital at ECO15 London. Prague-based Inven Capital is the new corporate VC of CEZ Group, the largest and most profitable utility in Eastern and South Eastern Europe. Equipped with a €180M fund, Inven Capital invests preferably in late stage startups with a proven business model, experienced founders and sustainable revenues. In 2015, they invested in Sonnen (the startup formerly known as Sonnenbatterie) and Sunfire – both Ecosummit Berlin Award 2015 winners. It looks like Inven Capital likes smart green startups made in Germany and Ecosummit. The Inven team is super cool and we strongly recommend to all ambitious smart energy startups in Europe to get in touch with Petr, Petra, Ivo and Kristyna.

Read more

Christian Reitberger and Jan Michael Hess chat about smart green angel investing

Ecosummit TV: We need more smart green angels in Europe. At the same time, angels should get better at co-investing in smart green startups and creating value during the holding period. With this motivation Christian Reitberger and Jan Michael Hess chat about the art of smart green angel investing at ECO15 Berlin. Christian is a VC and angel at the same time. This double role is possible as Wellington Partners stopped doing new investments in resource efficiency and, as a result, there is no conflict of interest. While many angels stay in the background, Christian gets a lot of dealflow because there is a general shortage of early stage investors and many people just know him. During the last years, he made 12 angel investments including 1 exit and 1 write-off. His active portfolio contains Romo Wind and Electrochaea.

Read more

Skeleton Technologies, Solarkiosk and Grundgrün win ECO15 London Award

Ecosummit London 2015 was our third conference at the Crystal and it turned out to be our best conference so far in the smart green capital. 160 happy and relaxed participants came together on 6-7 October 2015 to enjoy 46 startup pitches from all over Europe and celebrate smart green innovation. Our panel about fostering the cooperation between impact investors and VCs to tap into new sources of capital for smart green startups received a lot of applause – as did the panels about early stage, late stage and corporate venturing. To further grow next year we are moving Ecosummit London 2016 to CodeNode in the heart of Tech City and concentrate the action on 11 October 2016. Moreover, we announced Ecosummit Berlin 2016 on 26-27 April 2016 at the Radialsystem and Ecosummit Amsterdam 2016 on 7 July 2016 at Rockstart. During our high-speed ECO15 London Award ceremony on 6 October 2015 we announced the 3 winners Skeleton Technologies, Solarkiosk and Grundgrün.

Read more

Andreas Spiess pitches Solarkiosk at ECO15 Berlin

Ecosummit TV: Andreas Spiess pitches Solarkiosk at ECO15 Berlin. The Berlin-based smart green startup operates Solarkiosks designed by Graft in emerging markets and targets people living in offgrid communities at the Base-of-the-Pyramid (BoP). By the end of 2015, 200 Solarkiosks will be online in 7 countries in Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Nigeria). Founded in 2011, Solarkiosk has got over 60 employees, raised more than €10M and will be fundraising in 2016 looking for the best impact investors and VCs that believe in the tremendous business opportunities in emerging markets. Solarkiosk’s ultimate goal are 300.000 Solarkiosks in Africa, Asia and South America. Solarkiosk is one of the most exciting startups in Europe and a superb impact investment opportunity.

Read more

Sonnenbatterie, Sunfire, Thermondo, Agrilution, Ubitricity and Bettervest win the Ecosummit Award at ECO15 Berlin

Ecosummit Berlin 2015 was our best event so far – in terms of product quality, customer feedback and revenues. 250 super happy participants came to the Radialsystem on 19-20 May 2015 and were blown away by our unique mix of smart green people, superb conference location, fresh air on the Spree terrace, long networking breaks, tasty food, delicious wine, onsite parties with funky DJs and live act as well as a packed agenda that we ran through on time – for the first time since 2010. The secret of time keeping is collective discipline fostered by a speaker clock that is also visible to the moderator and skipping questions from the audience. During our award ceremony on 19 May 2015, we announced the 6 smart green startups winning the Ecosummit Award 2015.

Read more