If we're going to prevent more than a 2C rise in global temperature, we're going to need innovation at scale. We hear a lot about deep tech/ R&D led investments in this space – for example, better energy storage solutions, carbon capture technologies, EV development and so on. Cleantech has traditionally delivered poor returns to VC investors because of these long development cycles, however, recently, considering the global movement towards climate action, there has been increase in investments in this space.
While hardware and deeptech innovation is necessary, we hear much less about business model innovation. At ENGIE Factory, we believe there's a clear space for innovation in commercial and business models that deliver immediate value to customers and therefore, revenue and growth potential. Uncovering opportunities in this area can be difficult for first time entrepreneurs and those new to the energy sector, which is why we created the Venture Build program which does not require our founders to have any prior experience in energy. We then work closely with our founders, leveraging our knowledge of the sector, over a 12-week period to ideate, iterate, prototype and test ideas until we find an investment grade venture opportunity. Our portfolio companies, such as BillionBricks, Tablepointer, EVDots and SolarAI demonstrate that there is plenty of opportunity to solve real and immediate customer challenges, build exciting growth start-ups and contribute to the zero-carbon transition without significant R&D investment and long development timelines.
There is greater awareness for the need of alternate/green forms of energy. Irrespective of your views on it, the climate action movement last year led by Greta Thunburg, US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's green new deal show how young people, millennials (biggest component of the workforce) and gen-zers are aware and care about both global warming and the need for change. Big corporates are responding to this movement – RE100 companies for example, which include global blue chips like IKEA, Johnson & Johnson, Google, Accenture, AVIVA etc, have committed to sourcing their energy from 100% renewable sources by 2050.