Clean Energy Venture Group and E8 Announce Partnership to Boost Innovation in the Climate Tech Sector

By: Sarah Dickey, ACA Membership Director

Earlier this week the Clean Energy Venture Group (CEVG) and E8 announced a partnership for national climate tech angel investing with the goal to achieve greater efficiencies and impact.  This significant initiative to mitigate the threat of climate change and commitment to innovation is aiming to fill a void in the climate tech sector.  Jean-Noel Poirier, CEVG partner and Executive Managing Director, sat down with ACA to share even more about this new partnership and how interested angels can get involved: 

Jean-Noel, thank you very much for taking the time to provide ACA members with more information about this new effort between CVEG and E8.  Can you please tell us more about the national climate tech partnership initiative?

CEVG and E8 both support early stage climate technology companies, so it makes sense for both groups to coordinate and join forces when relevant to be more effective and impactful.  While the groups remain independent, CEVG, with offices in Boston and New York, and E8, based in Seattle, will collaborate on due diligence, co-investments and post-investment portfolio advisory services. 

CEVG and E8 are both obviously very passionate about creating positive and sustainable environmental change.  How was this collaboration formed?

CEVG and E8 have collaborated occasionally in the past on due diligence and members from both groups are already co-investors in several companies. I personally relocated from New York to Seattle earlier this year which helped strengthen the link, but the two groups being the oldest and most active investor groups focused on climate tech in North America, it was a logical step to work on a closer collaboration in any case. CEVG and E8 can work collaboratively on companies assessed in common, and can also complement each other for a broader impact, as no group alone has the capacity to handle the deal flow that we are facing. We collectively review more than 500 companies per year and invest in a dozen at best so there is room for improvement by pooling resources when relevant.  Also, both groups have the unique combination of large groups of very experienced members interested in and knowledgeable about the climate tech sector (~120 in combination), and the collaboration of Venture Capital funds (E8 Fund and Clean Energy Ventures respectively), both spun out of the groups a few years ago, which bring additional capital to the companies and invest alongside the groups. We want to leverage the synergies allowed by this unique combination and complementarity across the country.

Can you elaborate on the unique relationship between angel groups on opposite coasts?

CEVG and E8 both have national deal flows as companies tend to look for funding with relevant investors regardless of their location. However, each group also has unique relationships, connections, and presence in the cleantech ecosystems on the East coast (Boston and New York areas in particular for CEVG) and the West Coast (Seattle, Oregon, California in particular for E8). This physical presence adds tremendous value in terms of knowledge of the local entrepreneurs, technical experts, strategic partners, local support systems etc.  These connections, which are part of the DNA of both E8 and CEVG, are extremely valuable to develop a high quality deal flow, a strong due diligence process and very importantly, to help support companies post investment by providing relevant connections to advisors, team members, customers and other relevant entities in each region. By collaborating more closely, E8 and CEVG can take advantage of a broader combined network across the country, to the benefit of each group and to the benefit of entrepreneurs supported by each group. CEVG and E8 have collaborative cultures and are of course open to collaboration and syndication with groups located in other regions.

This initiative aligns with the goals and experience of many ACA members.  How can interested individual angels and angel groups get involved?

The climate technology space is experiencing positive growth with global macro trends finally aligning to seriously deal with the climate and other environmental issues: General scientific consensus, popular support, aggressive global and local environmental regulations, corporations committing to decarbonize their operations, emergence of new funds focused on the sector etc.

We are also witnessing a combination of maturing technologies scaling up massively as they become competitive with fossil fuel alternatives (solar, wind...EVs), and a very dynamic innovation ecosystem coming out of universities and supported by a number of accelerators and other support systems. All these variables are positive and constitute a different environment for investors compared to a few years ago.  We are obviously bullish on the opportunities for value creation in the climate tech space and are always open to new investors interested in the sector as there is still a real lack of funding for early stage innovation. Interested investors are welcome to contact CEVG and/or E8 to get involved.

About CEVG

Formed in 2005, the Clean Energy Venture Group is an investment group with offices in Boston and New York which provides seed capital and management expertise to early stage clean energy companies. The group is comprised of seasoned operating executives with strong capabilities in the energy and environmental sectors.

About E8

E8 is an international, Seattle-based community whose mission is to accelerate the transition to a prosperous and cleaner world by investing in and fostering emerging cleantech enterprises.

Its flexible, investor-centric platform supports different types of investors and asset classes, including direct angel for-profit investing, pooled investing in expertly managed VC funds such as the E8 Fund and via syndication.