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London Tech Week

European VC funding on the rise: Top 5 energy tech deals in 2024 so far

Sunfire team
Picture credit: Sunfire

The energy transition demonstrates a recovery in European VC investments in Q1 2024. As per Dealroom’s Europe Q1 report, European startups have raised $13.7 billion in VC funding during this period, which is a 5% increase on the same period last year.

The increase in funding comes despite concerns of a global slowdown in funding among early-stage companies. European VC is on track to be on a similar path to 2023 when the continent raised $59.1 billion, with the UK continuing to retain its crown as the leading country for VC investment. Notably, over 500 companies raised rounds of more than $2M in the first months of the year.

Diving deep into the transition brought in by the energy sector, it has outshadowed the fintech sector with several mega investments. This trend shows the importance of the continent’s priority in achieving net zero. Trailing behind energy tech are deep tech and climate tech.

Splitting the investments country-wise, Dealroom notes that the Netherlands enjoys a record start with Dutch startups raising $1.3B so far, a 107% increase in Q1 2023. We saw huge investments into the online supermarket Picnic and hotel property management platform Mews.

That said, here are the top five energy tech VC investments in Europe in Q1 2024.

Electra (France)

Electra founders
Picture credit: Electra

Founder/s: Aurelien de Meaux, Augustin Derville, Julien Belliato
Founded year: 2021
Amount raised in Q1 2024: $330M

EV fast-charging network Electra builds both physical charging stations for drivers to plug in their cars and software to support the charging process. It makes it possible for users to download the app to book their spot and payment platforms.

Alongside partnerships with private companies like supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, or parking lots, Electra has deployed 1,000 charging points in eight countries, including France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Spain. Across these charging points, it has recorded nearly 100,000 charging sessions per month.

In January, Electra raised €304 million in equity investment. The round was led by PGGM, a Dutch pension fund service provider through the “PGGM Infrastructure Fund.” Other participants in the round include Eurazeo, RIVE Private Investment, the SNCF group through 574 Invest, Serena, and Bpifrance through the Large Venture Fund.

H2 Green Steel (Sweden)

H2 Green Steel funding
Picture credits: H2 Green Steel

Founder/s: Harald Mix, Carl-Erik Lagercrantz
Founded year: 2020
Amount raised in Q1 2024: $325M

Sweden’s H2 Green Steel is a steel manufacturing company that aims to replace coking coal with green hydrogen to decarbonise steel production. The company employs a fully integrated process incorporating end-to-end digitalisation, electricity from fossil-free sources, and green hydrogen as an alternative to coal. Focused on decarbonising industries, it claims to produce steel with up to 95% lower CO2 emissions.

Earlier this year, H2 Green Steel raised €4.2 billion in debt financing and €300 million in additional equity from investors, including Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Mubea, and Siemens Financial Services. It also received a €250 million grant from the EU Innovation Fund. With this funding, the company aims to advance its plans for the world’s first large-scale green steel plant in Boden, Sweden.

Deep Green (UK)

Picture credit: Deep Green

Founder/s: Mark Bjornsgaard, Matt Craggs
Founded year: 2021
Amount raised in Q1 2024: $253M

London-headquartered Deep Green is touted to be the only Data Centre company that recaptures the heat your computer generates and repurposes it for social good, for free. Processing data generates a lot of heat. Deep Green specialises in creating and deploying small-scale, edge-style data centres that generate heat which can then be reused by businesses in various ways. This allows it to offer more affordable, highly energy-efficient computing to businesses across the UK.

Earlier this year, Deep Green picked up £200 million in investment from Octopus Energy. The funding will be used to help the UK-based startup expand its operations. One notable deployment involved setting up a heat-reusing data centre at a leisure centre in Devon, projected to save the centre £20,000 annually in energy costs.

Sunfire (Germany)

Sunfire team
Picture credit: Sunfire

Founder/s: Carl Berninghausen, Nils Aldag, Christian von Olshausen
Founded year: 2010
Amount raised in Q1 2024: $233M

Sunfire specialises in the production of industrial electrolyzers based on pressurised alkaline and solid oxide (SOEC) technologies. With its electrolysis solutions, it provides renewable hydrogen and syngas as climate-neutral substitutes for fossil energy sources. Its electrolysis technology enables the transformation of carbon-intensive industries that are currently dependent on fossil-based oil, gas, or coal.

In March, Sunfire secured over €200 million from LGT Private Banking, GIC, Ahren Innovation Capital, and Carbon Equity alongside existing investors and shareholders, including Lightrock, Planet First Partners, Carbon Direct Capital, the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, and Blue Earth Capital. With this investment, it plans to instal several gigawatts of electrolysis equipment by 2030 in large-scale green hydrogen projects, securing a leading position in the fast-growing global electrolyzer market.

Enviria (Germany)

Enviria team
Picture credit: Enviria

Founder/s: Melchior Schulze Brock
Founded year: 2017
Amount raised in Q1 2024: $200M

While most solar energy-related projects from Germany focus on residential installations and rental and maintenance services, Enviria sets itself different by focusing on photovoltaic energy solutions, including energy-as-a-service products customised for the distinct needs of businesses.

Its business model centres around navigating and mitigating the headaches involved when going solar: ensuring compliance with relevant regulations, sourcing solar systems appropriate to project requirements and goals, coordinating suppliers and contractors, managing the inevitable energy surplus, and sourcing the capital to finance the project.

In February, the company secured over $200 million in a Series B funding round provided by the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock. The investment will provide Enviria with further support as it expands upon its existing 500 commercial and industrial solar projects across Germany.

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