On a windy and cloudy spring afternoon I embarked on a train heading towards Hamburg. I was on my way of uncovering one more corner of the world of energy start-ups. A world that is peppered with ambitious entrepreneurs, cutting-edge technologies and drive to contribute to solving the pressing problems of climate change.
Long long time or, more precisely, one month ago
After wrapping the last tasks associated with my stay in the Group reporting team, tasting farewell cake and saying goodbye to Oslo, I reallocated to Düsseldorf for my last 6-month rotation. To the city where Statkraft has been present since 1999 with focus on power generation and trading. In recent years the energy sector has been experiencing fundamental changes, where the role of creative entrepreneurs cannot be overemphasized. Therefore supporting the founders by providing funding and expertise has become a natural addition to Statkraft’s operations. And I am thrilled to join the team along the new path.
Charting the area
The start-up landscape is dynamic and complex, therefore sign-posts were set early on. Statkraft Ventures invests in the companies that are in early stage or growth phase, meaning that the technology has been proven on a commercial scale and first revenues have been secured. While looking for investment opportunities in the energy sector, the team is also keeping an eye on enabling technologies that can disrupt the energy markets. Also, it is an evergreen fund (with indefinite life) joining the financing round with 0.5-2.5 million EUR investments. As every journey is easier with a good company, Statkraft Ventures is happy to syndicate with other investors for larger rounds as well as to take a lead role in the group to move forwards.
After acquiring a map, every traveller has to carefully compose her or his bag to make the journey easier. In addition to skills and knowledge gained during my last three trainee rotations, I am happy to complement my assets with a bike*, a blossoming magnolia tree greeting me every morning and the Viking laws revealed during the introductory session. Be versatile and agile, it says.
On being swift
The Statkraft corporate venture capital fund feels like a start-up itself – small, lean and agile. Being a team of six people allows the discussions to flow freely and to have common lunch to sample German cuisine (table-football championships are foreseen as well). More importantly we are swift in our investment evaluation process. We need to match the speed of the decision making with the pace of the start-ups. Yet, in contrast to many companies, the venture capital fund stands on the shoulder of the giant – the Statkraft Group. Even though Statkraft Ventures is an independent financial investor, it can tap into the pool of competence and help the entrepreneurs to benefit from synergies with the Statkraft Group.
Twisting, turning and googling
Equipped with the right tools and attitude I have started rolling along the path. Rather than being a one-way highway, it has proved to be very entrepreneurial. So I have had to learn how to switch gears swiftly, handle sharp twists and turns and have fun on the way. And each mile of that road has proved to be so different from the one before. Meeting ambitious and aspiring founders, taking a sneak peek into novel ideas and evaluating varying business models.
Who knows where the Google of the energy sector will come from? Maybe you do? If so, catch us along the way by giving a shout to Statkraft Ventures. 🙂