Confidence grows in energy storage as VC funding hits $299 million in Q1

Confidence grows in energy storage as VC funding hits $299 million in Q1

Confidence grows in energy storage as VC funding hits $299 million in Q1 Energy Storage Journal

Investment in battery storage companies rose more than 400% in the first quarter of the year compared to the same time last year, according to clean energy communications and consulting firm Mercom Capital Group’s Q1 2018 Battery Storage, Smart Grid and Efficiency Funding and M&A Report published on April 20.

The report focuses on funding and mergers and acquisitions activity for the battery storage, smart grid, and energy efficiency sectors during the first three months of 2018.

The report found that venture capital funding in battery storage companies reached $299 million in 12 deals compared to $58 million raised in eight deals during Q1 of last year. $151 million was raised in five deals during the last three months of 2017.

US AI and virtual power plant firm Stem was the top five VC funded company, raising $80 million through investment from Activate Capital, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and Temasek.

An indicator of the direction battery technology is going, at least according to VCs, was the $65 million invested in solid-state battery company Ionic Materials.

Notably vehicle OEMs Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi invested in the technology. Other investors included Dyson (which relinquished solid-state IP from Sakti3 last year), Samsung, A123, and Hitachi.

Other big winners were Singapore-based lithium ion firm Durapower ($40 million from Banpu Infinergy and K-IX Ace); UK energy storage system firm Battery Energy Storage Solutions (around $38 million from Santander Corporate & Commercial; and US lithium metal company Solid Energy ($34 million, undisclosed investors).

Smart Grid

Meanwhile corporate funding ensured smart grid investment continued its ascent.

Although the number of deals was down YoY from 14, investment in Q1 2018 was up to $1.3 billion in nine deals, compared to $164 million in Q1 last year. In Q4 of last year $796 million was raised in 12 deals.

A YoY comparison of VC funding witnessed a fall from the $164 million raised in 14 deals in Q1 2017, with only $75 million secured in Q1 this year. However, it did represent a 79% rise compared to Q4 of last year when $42 million was raised in nine deals.

The top VC funded companies included: Bidgely ($27 million from, among others, E.ON); Husk Power Systems (a $20 million investment that including Shell Technology Ventures); and Mnubo ($16 million from HSB Group).