Statoil Energy Ventures backs Convergent
American energy storage asset developer receives investment from Statoil’s new fund
Convergent is a technology-neutral energy storage asset developer with experience across a wide range of projects, from commercial and industrial applications to grid-connected systems, serving both utilities and end users of electricity. The company manages all aspects of the energy storage asset development cycle, including project-specific opportunity identification and economic evaluation.
The market-leading American startup received a strategic investment from Statoil Energy Ventures in December. With this investment, Statoil joins a group of five other investors committed to supporting Convergent in developing, financing, and operating cost-effective energy storage assets. According to Convergent’s CEO, Johannes Rittershausen, the partnership with Statoil represents the continuing expansion of their storage offerings. In addition to the expertise from one of the largest energy companies in the world—also the largest Nordic company on the Forbes list—Convergent is leveraging their experience with over 70 MW and USD 200 million in contracted energy storage projects.
Statoil’s new Energy Ventures initiative, established last year, is one of the world’s largest corporative venture funds dedicated to investing in successful, growing companies within the renewable energy industry. The fund is part of Statoil’s work with new energy solutions, reflecting the company’s aspiration to gradually complement its oil and gas portfolio with profitable renewable energy and low-carbon solutions.
The fund has USD 200 million in total investment capital and invests one million to 20 million per company over a period of four to seven years. Statoil aims to be an attractive partner for successful innovators and disruptors partnering with entrepreneurs to shape the future of energy.
The fund operates as a dedicated venture capital team with long-term commitment and engagement, aligned with the interests of entrepreneurs and co-investors. They take direct positions as a minority shareholder in growth companies, preferably as a co-investor with other venture firms. Investment in selected funds will also be considered to gain a wider footprint.
They want to invest in three strategic areas. They have built up a strong position in offshore wind through venture capital investments since 2010. They want to evaluate new business opportunities in the solar and onshore wind value chain. Lastly they want to explore new high-impact technologies and business models that could potentially disrupt their markets in the future.
Statoil Energy Ventures wants to invest in startups with a strong strategic fit. They should be active in markets that are large enough to allow the portfolio company to grow quickly to a significant size. Furthermore they must have a team with the drive to build successful world-class companies, have entrepreneurial experience, and be committed. The startup must have the advantages that address all forms of competition and can sustain these advantages over several years. Last but not least, they must have a strong outlook for a successful exit.
The new venture fund operates alongside Statoil’s existing venture fund, Statoil Technology Invest, which focuses on early-phase investment in upstream oil and gas.
So far Statoil Energy Ventures has invested 16 million dollars in four startups: United Wind (U.S.), Chargepoint (U.S.), Oxford PV (Great Britain) and Convergent (U.S.).
Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo, Norway.
This article originally appeared in the June 30, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.