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Clean energy stocks may not be performing as well in the public market, but there is still a growing demand for companies that are dedicated to decarbonization in private markets. Clean Energy Ventures recently announced that it had raised $305 million for its second fund, surpassing its initial target of $200 million. The firm saw interest from various limited partners, such as The Grantham Foundation, Builders Vision, and Carbon Equity, which led to the oversubscription of the fund.

The second fund by Clean Energy Ventures is primarily focused on investing in technologies that go beyond the traditional green investments in solar and wind. Co-founder and managing partner Daniel Goldman highlighted industrial decarbonization as a key area of interest, specifically targeting emissions-reducing technology for industries like cement and steel. The firm is also looking into areas such as more efficient recycling of plastics, cost-competitive bioplastic production, and grid-improving technologies for distributed energy, like virtual power plants.

With the successful raise of its second fund, Clean Energy Ventures has already made six investments, including companies like Nitrofix, a green ammonia company based in Israel, and Oxccu, a sustainable aviation fuel company in the U.K. The firm is also expanding its presence by opening a new office in London, recognizing the immense opportunities in the European market for clean energy investments.

Since the launch of its first fund in 2019, the renewable energy landscape has undergone significant changes, including the rise and fall of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). While SPACs were once a popular avenue for clean energy companies to enter public markets, many have underperformed, leading to doubts about the readiness of these companies. However, Clean Energy Ventures remains confident in the value of clean energy investing and continues to attract institutional investors, asset managers, family offices, and financial advisors who prioritize financial returns over impact investing.

Clean Energy Ventures takes a strategic approach to investments, focusing on companies that develop technologies that could be of interest to larger industry players. Rather than aiming for IPOs, the firm sees strategic sales as a viable option for its portfolio companies. While none of the companies from the first fund have gone public or been acquired, there have been interested buyers, showcasing the potential for strategic partnerships and acquisitions in the future.

Private Equity’s Role

Private equity is also emerging as a significant player in energy-transition related deals, with investments exceeding $25.9 billion in 2023, up significantly from $500 million in 2018. Private equity serves as a crucial stepping stone for companies that have outgrown venture capital but are not yet prepared for public markets. Clean Energy Ventures collaborates with private equity firms to help its portfolio companies transition to the next growth stage, emphasizing the importance of these partnerships in driving the clean energy transition forward.

Despite the challenges faced by clean energy stocks in public markets, the private market is seeing a surge in investment activity focused on decarbonization and sustainable technologies. Clean Energy Ventures’ success in raising funds and deploying capital strategically demonstrates the growing appetite for clean energy investments and the pivotal role of private markets in driving the transition to a greener future.

Finance

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