Energy Capital Closes $61M Fund I to Accelerate the Natural Gas Industry’s ESG Transformation

Source: 10/6/2022, Location: North America

- ECV is the only VC firm committed to investing in startups focused on ESG imperatives and digital transformation of the natural gas industry
- LPs include several publicly traded utility companies including new investors Eversource Energy and National Fuel Gas Co., who join existing strategic LPs Avista Corp., Black Hills Energy, NiSource, Southwest Gas Holdings and Spire
- ECV champions for innovation in “green molecules™” — the term it developed to encapsulate technologies spanning decarbonization, sustainability and digitization of natural gas industry

Energy Capital Ventures (ECV), the only early-stage venture capital firm dedicated to the environmental, social and governance (ESG) imperatives and digital transformation of the natural gas industry, announced its two final limited partners investing in its $61 million debut Fund I.

Eversource Energy and National Fuel Gas Co. are the latest prominent publicly traded utility companies to invest in ECV’s innovation in “green molecules™.” ECV will accelerate its deployment of capital at the Seed-plus and Series A stage in game-changing companies with exceptional leaders that address the natural gas industry’s ESG imperatives, and enable its digital transformation.

ECV coined the phrase, green molecules™, to define technologies encompassing the decarbonization, sustainability and digitization of the natural gas industry. As they relate to the natural-gas value stream, those technologies affect the use of hydrogen, renewable natural gas, carbon-capture utilization and sequestration, climate-tech, decarbonization, ESG modeling and accounting, workforce and customer safety, methane detection and leak prevention, business process optimization, customer experience and robotics. Many other venture capital firms focus on green-electron solutions particular to electrification, or are broad generalist funds. Consequently, they do not realize the full potential of a diverse energy portfolio and holistic customer energy needs.

“Adding Eversource and National Fuel Gas Company to our platform categorically demonstrates the strategic importance and market validation of the work we are doing to advance innovation in green molecules™,” said Vic Pascucci, ECV co-founder and managing general partner. “We could not be more excited about the future of our fund and its mission to accelerate clean innovation in the natural gas industry.”

ECV portfolio company Cemvita, which uses synthetic biology to decarbonize heavy industry, is emblematic of the firm’s green-molecule™ investment thesis. Cemvita is currently developing bio ethylene with Oxy and sustainable aviation fuel with United Airlines. The company is also enabling “gold hydrogen” with Chart Industries and other corporate partners in addition to numerous other exciting decarbonization efforts in biomining and biomanufacturing.

“Innovation is key to providing safe, reliable and sustainable energy to the neighborhoods we serve,” said Bill Akley, Eversource Energy’s gas business president. “Energy Capital Ventures’ advocacy for green-molecule™ innovation helps us evolve our business to provide a better tomorrow for the communities we serve. Achieving greenhouse-gas reductions for our state mandates will require innovation and new solutions that don't exist today across our entire energy sector. ECV is enabling the investments in our industry that advance these emissions reductions by bringing needed innovations to market.”

“ECV’s green-molecule™ revolution and natural gas industry digital transformation represent a total addressable market worth trillions of dollars worldwide,” Pascucci said. “That market continues to grow as the natural-gas infrastructure enables not just today’s sources of clean, safe, reliable cost-effective energy, but tomorrow’s sources as well.”

“Innovation is a core guiding principle at National Fuel,” said David Bauer, National Fuel Gas Co. president and CEO. “Energy Capital Ventures enables us to access an entire ecosystem of new and emerging technologies that will help us better serve our communities, steward the environment and deliver safe energy. Our team is a proud supporter of ECV and their mission.”

Eversource and National Fuel join existing ECV strategic LPs: Avista Corp., Black Hills Energy, NiSource, Southwest Gas Holdings and Spire.

“These additional partners will better enable us to drive breakthrough innovations through the Energy Capital Ventures platform. Together, we can transform how energy is delivered to customers and truly advance our industry,” said Suzanne Sitherwood, Spire CEO and founding ECV limited partner. “The more ECV grows, the more we can push the boundaries of what’s possible in delivering the affordable, reliable, clean natural gas that customers depend on.”

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