The federal government’s Clean Energy Innovation Fund is coordinating a day-long meeting between investors and start-ups, in a new push to fast-track Australia’s emerging low-carbon energy sector.
The inaugural Clean Energy Innovators Demo Day, in Sydney on Tuesday, will give 10 shortlisted companies the opportunity to pitch their technologies and business plans to a group of potential investors, allowing the companies, in turn, to get some insight into what investors are looking for in a clean energy innovator.
The start-ups – many of which have been featured in RenewEconomy and One Step Off The Grid – include upstart retailer Mojo Power, battery tech company Nano-Nouvelle, energy efficiency start-up Edge Electrons, internet-of-things companies Redback Technologies and WattWatchers, and solar PV innovator RayGen Resources, whose technology aims to be significantly cheaper than Flat Plate PV and less capital intensive to manufacture.
Some of the technological themes emerging from the line-up include behind-the-meter rooftop solar generation; virtual power plant solutions, tapping distributed solar and storage; and energy efficiency.
According to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which finances investments made through the Innovation Fund, the 10 companies are seeking as much as $88 million in immediate backing – although no deals or finance commitments are expected to be made at the meeting.
Malcolm Turnbull’s flagship $1 billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund – announced in a blaze of publicity in early 2016 – started out with a budget of $1 billion, that was soon pared back to just $200 million to allocate for early-stage higher risk investments; although the CEFC says that figure should not be seen as a cap.
Most recently, the Fund committed $5 million to Melbourne smart energy start-up, GreenSync, as part of an $11.5 million Series B capital raising. And last December, it injected $10 million to the $50 million capital raising of Carbon Revolution, a Geelong-based company that produces one-piece carbon fibre car wheels.
CEFC investment development director, Blair Pritchard, says the the Innovators Demo Day is another way of helping innovative companies take that next big step to accelerate growth, while also working to extend the Fund’s investment pipeline.
“These discussions will help the Innovation Fund extend our investment pipeline,” Pritchard said.
“The CEFC’s main role here has been to act as a catalyst, bringing the innovators and the investors together and allowing both groups to assess one another. We are enormously encouraged by the response.”
“These businesses are all looking to execute their go-to-market strategies. They are keenly aware that it’s a dynamic market, and they all want to rapidly develop their technologies and business
propositions to stay ahead of their competitors,” Pritchard said.
Investors, meanwhile, are equally keen to get into the emerging clean energy sector
“They want to meet potential co-investors as well as businesses they can invest in,” Pritchard said.