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National Grid Partners, the investment arm of energy utility National Grid, has invested in four startups and two venture capital funds focused on energy and technology.
NGP has invested in Audio Analytic, Carbon Lighthouse, Copperleaf and GoCardless, and has become a limited partner in IQ Capital Fund III LP (an IQ Capital fund) and JVP VIII, L.P. (a Jerusalem Venture Partners fund).
With these investments, NGP expands its portfolio to 12 companies with $90 million invested to date and three strategic fund investments at the intersection of energy and information technology — furthering its vision to define a smarter and more renewable energy future.
Today, NGP opened a new office in San Francisco, which will facilitate collaboration among industry leaders and NGP’s early stage portfolio companies. That office will allow the company to help young companies better.
“We are all about everything in a startup life cycle, from the idea to a late-stage or growth-stage company,” said Lisa Lambert, National Grid’s chief technology and innovation officer, and president of National Grid Partners, in an interview with VentureBeat. “We cover the full value chain, all phases and stages. We invest in domains that are relevant to our businesses. So we are driving an agenda of de-carbonization, decentralization, and digitization.”
Lambert, a former executive at Intel Capital, announced in November that she had formed a $250 million fund, National Grid Partners, to invest in startups at the intersection of technology and energy. At that time, National Grid Partners announced it had invested $19 million in five startups.
“We’ve closed a lot in the last six months and that’s our objective,” Lambert said. “We have a great team with a great network, and great access to great deals. And we have willing partners in our business units. They are hungry for great technology that will help customers.”
Lambert said the Los Gatos, California-based National Grid Partners team has expanded from 25 to 40 people, which includes employees running an incubator and an innovation center of excellence. The latter is a company that helps startups get going with their relationship with National Grid.
Some of the newest additions to NGP’s growing portfolio are:
- Audio Analytic, an intelligent sound recognition company using advanced, edge-based AI to provide consumer technology with a wide sense of hearing.
- Carbon Lighthouse, an environmentally focused business that makes it profitable for commercial and industrial buildings to reduce their emissions and increase efficiency.
- Copperleaf, the next generation asset management planning and decision analytics system designed for utilities and other asset-intensive companies. Lambert said it’s good for creating a “what-if” analysis on replacing equipment, which can help a utility make better decisions about replacing equipment.
- GoCardless, a bank-independent, cloud-based payments service provider. It helps utilities and other businesses work with customers for updating customer records for direct debit and recurring payments.
NGP’s newest limited partnership relationships with strategic funds are with IQ Capital, a venture capital fund investing in early stage, deep technology enterprise startups spun out of the Cambridge University ecosystem; and Jerusalem Venture Partners, a venture capital firm in Israel that offers NGP broad access to the Israeli technology sector.
“We are expanding our relationship with National Grid on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Judi Hess, Copperleaf CEO, in a statement. “Our industry-leading decision analytics solution keeps National Grid ahead of the curve by delivering optimal asset investment strategies and business performance.”
NGP will continue collaborating with companies at the intersection of energy and information technology. NGP previously announced its backing of Aporeto, AutoGrid, ClimaCell, Dragos, Leap, Omnidian, Pixeom, and Sitetracker. NGP is also a limited partner in the strategic utility technology fund Energy Impact Fund LP, an Energy Impact Partners fund.
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