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What are the selection criteria for the innovative projects supported by the GDF SUEZ New Ventures Investment Fund?

Energy Communities
05/11/2014

Deputy Director of GDF SUEZ New Ventures -a corporate venture capital company, launched in May 2014- Éric Vincent, forged most of his career within the GDF SUEZ Group, notably as Deputy CFO then as CEO of SUEZ Nov Invest, the corporate venture subsidiary of the Suez Group.

What is GDF SUEZ New Ventures’ vocation?

Eric Vincent: “GDF SUEZ New Ventures’ objective is to pave the Group’s way through the opportunities of open innovation. With 100 million euros in capital, the fund complements the existing resources coming from our technology and research centres as well as from internal innovation initiated by Business Units or directly from employees (incubation).

Our mission, within the next five years, is to build-up a portfolio of interests in 15 to 20 innovative companies, with an average investment of 5 to 6 million euros per file. Once infused, the innovation spirit should stimulate growth. This requires a deep immersion into innovation’s ecosystem.

What are your main intervention areas?

Eric Vincent: We focus on three large sectors. Firstly, the distributed generation of energy, including but not limited to energy storage, power demand side management, smart grids and new energy carriers (hydrogen, bio methane…). Then comes energy efficiency and home comfort –i.e. applications that aim at facilitating the everyday life of private individuals and corporations- from domotics to the Internet of things. Lastly come mobility, cities and territories.

What are your investment criteria?

Eric Vincent: “GDF SUEZ selects companies according to three main criteria: the innovative nature of the technology or service offer, its alignment with the Group’s strategy in that field and, last but not least, the robustness of the company project, particular attention being paid to the quality of management teams”.

How will you prospect to unearth strategic innovations with a future?

Eric Vincent: “The Group is mostly interested in start-ups, French start-ups of course but also uncovered abroad, that seek an industrial partner to test the operational development of their innovations. From GDF SUEZ side, the projects’ selection process implies meeting strict financial criteria and might lead to a minority interest in the selected start-ups. The fund does not intervene at early-stage, the company has to show convincing evidence of its development potential and, most of all, be fully in line with the Group’s strategy”

Source: Hugo Whitmore