Dealwatch: Global competition increasing

BY BEN COOK & ROBERT MALTHOUSE

  • Investors backing storage projects around the world
  • Venture funds on the hunt for storage startups to back
  • Funding for European, North American and Asian storage signed off

Energy storage innovation is taking place everywhere around the world, emphasising the fiercely competitive nature of this rapidly evolving industry.

The ubiquitous nature of the sector has been clearly demonstrated in recent weeks as investors revealed their intention to back storage projects across the globe.

In a notable recent announcement, EDP Ventures, the venture capital arm of EDP Renewables said it would be investing a total of €100 million in energy transition startups globally with a focus on “new renewable energy technologies, storage and flexibility solutions”.

Meanwhile Quantum Energy Partners has backed Aer Soléir’s plans to develop wind, solar and energy storage projects right across Europe to the tune of $250 million.

In addition, there have been notable recent investments in storage technology companies in North America – where Canadian zinc-air battery company e-Zinc completed a $25 million funding round – and also in Asia, where Aquila Capital has formed a joint venture with South Korea’s Topinfra to develop wind, solar and storage in South Korea.

But who is leading on these investments?

Energy Storage Report brings you a breakdown of six of the highest-profile deals reported in recent weeks, highlighting which funds, and other investors, are involved in each deal and the names of the key individuals overseeing the investments.

Deal 1: Toronto-headquartered zinc-air battery company e-Zinc raised $25 million in a Series A financing to begin the pilot production of its first commercial energy storage systems for field deployment.

Major investors: 

Anzu Partners
Assets under management: $1 billion
Key figures: David Michael and David Seldin, co-founders and managing partners. Before Anzu, Michael spent 24 years at The Boston Consulting Group, where he was a senior partner. Seldin served as the president of Catalyst, Inc for 17 years.

BDC Capital
Assets under management: $3 billion
Key figure: Jérôme Nycz, executive vice president. Nycz began his career as a senior economist and policy advisor at the Department of Finance, Industry Canada and the Department of National Defence, before joining BDC in 2002.

Toyota Ventures
Assets under management: $500 million
Key figure: Jim Adler, founding managing director. Prior to joining Toyota, Adler was vice president of products and marketing at Metanautix, a big data analytics start-up funded by Sequoia Capital and Workday that was acquired by Microsoft.

Eni Next
Assets under management: Less than $100 million
Key figure: Gabriele Franceschini, President and CEO. Franceschini joined Eni in 1989 and has been involved in multiple development projects in Italy and overseas.

Energy Foundry
Assets under management: 
Less than $100 million
Key figures: Jason Blumberg, co-founder and managing director, and Sara Chamberlain, managing director. Earlier in his career, Blumberg was employed by GVW Holdings, an industrial and transportation platform of The Carlyle Group. Meanwhile, prior to joining Energy Foundry, Chamberlain co-managed the government advisory practice for clean technology startups at law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Deal 2: Aquila Capital formed a joint venture with South Korea’s Topinfra to develop wind, solar and storage in South Korea. The tie-up, known as Aquila Development Partners, will start with 1GW of development-stage wind and 430MW of development-stage solar projects.

Major investors:

Aquila Capital
Assets under management: €12.5 billion
Key figures: Roman Rosslenbroich, co-founder and CEO; Dieter Rentsch, co-founder and CIO. Prior to founding Aquila Capital in 2001, Rosslenbroich was head of the fixed income rates division at Salomon Brothers in Frankfurt and Rentsch was head of macro research at Munich Re Insurance Group (MEAG).

Topinfra
Total assets: 
$57 million
Key figure: Tristan Jung, CEO. Prior to Topinfra, Jung was a financial analyst at big four firm Deloitte.


Deal 3: EDP Renewables’ venture capital arm EDP Ventures to invest €100 million in start-ups focussing on new renewable energy technologies, such as energy storage and green hydrogen. EDP plans to invest up to €10 million per company and will focus on businesses that are in the “scale-up phase with proven track records and with plans to accelerate their growth”.

Major investor:

EDP Ventures
Assets under management: 
Less than $100 million
Key figure: Luis Manuel, partner and managing director. Prior to joining EDP in 2008, Manuel was a senior project manager at Galp Energia.

Deal 4: Quantum Energy Partners subsidiary 547 Energy has committed $250m of equity funding to Aer Soléir, an onshore wind, solar and energy storage company based in Dublin, Ireland. 

Major investor:

547 Energy
Assets under management: 
547 Energy is a subsidiary of Quantum Energy Partners, which has, together with affiliates, managed $18 billion in capital commitments since its inception in 1998.
Key figure: Gabriel Alonso, founder, president and CEO. Prior to founding 547 Energy, Alonso was CEO at EDP Renewables North America. He also served on the executive committee and board of the American Wind Energy Association (today known as American Clean Power).

Deal 5: Mitsui & Co has agreed to invest €575 million in Mainstream Renewable Power, which will use part of the funding to build up its battery storage capabilities. In return for the investment, Mitsui will receive a 27.5% equity stake in the company.

Major investor:

Mitsui & Co
Assets under management: $112.8 billion
Key figures: Kenichi Hori, president and CEO, and Tatsuo Yasunaga, chair of the board of directors.

Hori joined Mitsui in 1984 and began leading the company in 2021. Yasunaga joined the company in 1983 and served as Mitsui’s CEO before Hori.

Deal 6: Swedish-based sodium-ion battery company Altris has raised €9.6 million in a Series A funding round to help scale up the company’s production of its battery cathode material, called ‘Fennac’, to 2,000 tonnes.

Major investors:

Molindo Energy 
Assets under management: Unknown, but Molindo has eight companies in its portfolio – it’s investment in Altris amounted to €300,000.
Key figure: Morgan Sadarangani, founder and CEO. Prior to founding the company, Sadarangani was CFO at Tethys Oil, which went from a private SEK 20 million company to a public mid cap company listing on Stockholm’s Nasdaq for SEK 3 billion.

Northvolt 
Value of orders received: Battery cell and system provider Northvolt has, to date, secured £27 billion worth of contracts
Key figures: Peter Carlsson, founder and CEO; and Alexander Hartman, CFO. Prior to finding the company, Carlsson was Head of Supply Chain at Tesla Motors. Hartman joined Northvolt the year it was founded. Prior to that he worked in corporate development at G7 Advisory and Helly Hansen, as well as early career roles at Goldman Sachs and Altor Equity Partners.

EIT InnoEnergy
Total investments: 
€560 million has been invested in more than 480 “sustainable energy innovations”
Key figures: Diego Pavía, CEO; and Bart de Beer, CFO. Pavía joined the company as CEO in 2010, Prior to joining he served in numerous leadership roles at Knowledge Engineering, SchlumbergerSema and Atos Origin. Beer joined the company in 2011 and held several senior financial roles at large multinationals, including Reed Elsevier and Cisco.

IMAGE: (clockwise from top left): Gabriel Alonso (547 Energy); Roman Rosslenbroich (Aquila Capital); Diego Pavía (EIT InnoEnergy); Jérôme Nycz (BDC Capital); David Michael (Anzu Partners); and Morgan Sadarangani (Molindo Energy).

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