National Grid’s energy-tech fund reaches $90m, taps San Francisco start-up power
National Grid, the UK-based electricity and gas utility, has pumped money into a group of new energy tech providers, taking its total investment portfolio to $90 million. It has also set up a new start-up incubation office in San Francisco.
National Grid Partners, the investment and innovation arm of National Grid, has put money into four firms, variously providing analytics, buoldings management, asset management, and cloud payments. It has also become a limited partner in two “strategtic” venture capital funds, managed by UK-based IQ Capital and Isarel-based Jerusalem Venture Partners.
It aims to invest $250 million over three years. It claims to be the utility industry’s first Silicon Valley-based investment and innovation firm.
National Grid operates gas and electric networks in the northeast of the US – in New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts – as well as the UK. National Grid Partners (NGP, not to be confused with Nokia’s investment arm NGP Capital) has set up in San Francisco to bring “collaboration among industry leaders” and it own early-stage portfolio companies.
NGP’s funding portfolio stands at 12 companies, three strategic fund investments, and $90 million of backing. All its investments are “at the intersection of energy and information technology”. It claims a “provocative vision to define a smarter and more renewable energy future”.
John Pettigrew, chief executive at National Grid, said: “We have been mobilizing and preparing ourselves for what tomorrow’s customers will require. By investing and partnering with these innovators, National Grid will stay a step ahead of emerging technology trends to meet our customers’ energy needs into the future.”
Its newly-sponsored quartet include: Audio Analytic, which develops sound recognition technology that brings contextual artificial intelligence (AI) to consumer technology; Carbon Lighthouse, which offers ways for buildings to reduce emissions and increase efficiency; Copperleaf, an analytics system for utilities; and GoCardless, a cloud-based “disruptive payments” provider.
NGP has previously announced backing of Aporeto, AutoGrid, ClimaCell, Dragos, Leap, Omnidian, Pixeom, and Sitetracker.
IQ Capital invests in UK ‘deep-tech’. Jerusalem Venture Partners offers NGP access to the Israeli tech sector. NGP is also a limited partner in the Energy Impact utility-tech fund run by Energy Impact Partners.
Lisa Lambert, chief technology and innovation officer at National Grid, and founder and president at NGP, said: “We are delighted to bring these new investments into our portfolio. We are well on our way towards driving a smart and digital energy future for tomorrow’s socially-conscious consumer.”
Judi Hess, chief executive at Copperleaf, said: “We are expanding our relationship with National Grid on both sides of the Atlantic. Our industry-leading decision analytics solution keeps National Grid ahead of the curve by delivering optimal asset investment strategies and business performance.”
NGP has offices Boston, New York, London, Los Gatos, and San Francisco.