Dealwatch: Primavera and Koch lead the way

BY ROBERT MALTHOUSE

The month of October saw a number of major energy storage investments with significant deals in China and North America in particular.

Arguably most eye-catching of all was China-based Primavera Capital Group’s $600 million investment in two subsidiaries of storage products company Envision Group.

However, the North American market saw a number of significant deals completed, including Koch Strategic Platforms’ $100 million investment in Canada-based lithium-ion battery recycling firm Li-Cycle. Meanwhile, Michigan-based Our Next Energy closed a $25 million Series A funding round.

Elsewhere, private equity firm Antin Infrastructure Partners acquired a majority stake in US solar and storage developer Origis Energy, while in Australia, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures sold a 49% stake in FRV Australia Group to OMERS Infrastructure.

So, who have been the investors driving these deals forward?

Energy Storage Report brings you a breakdown of six of the highest-profile deals reported in October, highlighting the major investors involved. We detail the size of the funds making the investment and the names of the key individuals running the funds and/or overseeing the deals in question.

DEAL 1: CHINA-BASED PRIMAVERA CAPITAL GROUP MADE A $600 MILLION INVESTMENT IN ENVISION ENERGY AND ENVISION AESC, TWO SUBSIDIARIES OF WIND TURBINE AND ENERGY STORAGE PRODUCTS COMPANY ENVISION GROUP.

Major investor:

Primavera Capital Group
Assets under management: $5.3 billion
Key figures: Founder, chairman and CEO Fred Hu and founding partners William Wang, Kenneth Wong and Haitao Zhai
Prior to founding Primavera, Hu was partner and ‘chairman of Greater China’ at Goldman Sachs and an economist at the International Monetary Fund. Wang, Wong and Zhai also joined Primavera from Goldman Sachs where they were managing directors.

DEAL 2: LITHIUM-ION BATTERY RECYCLING FIRM LI-CYCLE ANNOUNCED A $100 MILLION INVESTMENT FROM KOCH STRATEGIC PLATFORMS, A SUBSIDIARY OF KOCH INVESTMENTS GROUP.

Major investor:

Koch Strategic Platforms
Value of Koch Industries’ technology-related investments: $30 billion
Key figure: David Park, president
Park joined Koch Strategic Platforms from his role as senior vice president at Georgia-Pacific. Before that, he was a managing director in business development at Koch Industries as well as president at TrueNorth Energy.

DEAL 3: MICHIGAN-BASED ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEMS COMPANY OUR NEXT ENERGY CLOSED A $25 MILLION SERIES A CAPITAL RAISE LED BY BREAKTHROUGH ENERGY VENTURES. THE ROUND WAS JOINED BY ASSEMBLY VENTURES, BMW IVENTURES, FLEX, AND VOLTA ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES.

Major investors:

Breakthrough Energy Ventures
Capital raised: $2 billion
Key figures: Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Michael Bloomberg, Jack Ma
Funded by the founders of Microsoft, Amazon, Virgin, Bloomberg and Alibaba among others, Breakthrough Energy Ventures invests in new technologies that, it claims, “make power reliable and affordable for everyone while not warming the planet”.

Assembly Ventures
Key figures: Co-founders and partners Felix Scheuffelen, Jessica Robinson, Chris Thomas
The trio founded the company in June 2020. Before Assembly Ventures, Scheuffelen co-founded Iporanga Ventures and was a managing director at ‘innovation platform’ Plug and Play Tech Centre. Robinson served as a director at Ford Motor Company and co-founded Detroit Mobility Lab. Prior to that, she was a manager at Zipcar. Meanwhile, Thomas co-founded Detroit Mobility Lab as well as venture capital firm Fontinalis Partners.

BMW iVentures
Capital raised: Fund I raised $500 million and Fund ll raised $300 million
Key figures: CEO Marcus Behrendt and CFO Michael Hammer
Behrendt served as CEO at J. D. Power before joining BMW. Before that he was a manager at Mercedes-Benz. Hammer joined the BMW Group from management consultancy Mercer – where he worked as a consultant – before moving into his role at iVentures in 2017.

Flex
Market capitalisation: $8.68 billion
Key figure: CEO Revathi Advaithi
Prior to joining Flex in 2019, Advaithi was COO at electrical manufacturing company Eaton. Before that she served as vice president at Honeywell International.

Volta Energy Technologies
Value of energy storage fund: More than $200 million
Key figures: CEO Jeff Chamberlain and CIO Alexander Arkin
Prior to Volta, Chamberlain was a director at Argonne National Laboratory and a product development manager at Cabot Microelectronics. Arkin joined Volta after holding a number of senior roles at Riverstone Holdings, McKinsey & Company and the Harvard Electricity Policy Group.

DEAL 4: RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPER FOTOWATIO RENEWABLE VENTURES (FRV), PART OF ABDUL LATIF JAMEEL ENERGY, SOLD A 49% INTEREST IN FRV AUSTRALIA GROUP – WHOSE PLATFORM INCLUDES SOLAR PV ASSETS AND BATTERY ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEMS – TO OMERS INFRASTRUCTURE.

Major investor:

OMERS Infrastructure
Assets Under Management: $30 billion
Key figures: Senior managing director Christopher Curtain and director Kevork Sahagian
Curtain joined OMERS in 2014 from GIC Infrastructure. Before that he worked at PwC. Sahagian joined in 2019 from Credit Suisse. Previously, he held positions at investment banks Bank of America Merrill Lynch, RBC Capital Markets and Macquarie Capital.

DEAL 5: EUROPEAN PRIVATE EQUITY FIRM ANTIN INFRASTRUCTURE PARTNERS ACQUIRED A MAJORITY STAKE IN US SOLAR AND STORAGE DEVELOPER ORIGIS ENERGY.

Major investor:

Antin Infrastructure Partners
Antin Group assets under management: $6.4 billion
Key figures: CEO Alain Rauscher and managing partner Mark Crosbie
Rauscher joined Antin following a stint in investment banking with BNP Paribas Corporate Finance, Lazard Frères and Lehman Brothers. Crosbie served as a member of the executive committee at Centrica, and also held senior roles at UBS and Peregrine Investment Holdings before joining Antin in 2008.

DEAL 6: HI-POWER, A SUBSIDIARY OF US-BASED ZINC-POWERED ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEM PROVIDER EOS ENERGY ENTERPRISES, ENTERED INTO A $25 MILLION EQUIPMENT FINANCING AGREEMENT WITH TRINITY CAPITAL.

Major investor:

Trinity Capital
Portfolio value: $494 million
Key figures: Chairman and CEO Steve Brown and CFO David Lund
Before founding Trinity Capital, Brown served as general partner at Point Financial Capital Partners. Prior to that, he was president and CFO at private equity fund InvestLinc Financial Services and partner at Cornerstone Equity Partners. Lund has held senior roles at Hercules Technology Growth Capital and Rainmaker.

Image (left to right): Jessica Robinson (Assembly Ventures); Revathi Advaithi (Flex); and Fred Hu (Primavera)

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