Blue Bear Capital Raises $150 million For Investments in Cleantech Startups

Highlights :

  • Slowly but steadily, capital allocation for cleantech continues to rise

Blue Bear Capital, a venture and growth equity firm focused on AI-powered solutions for energy, infrastructure, and climate, has raised $150 million to invest in companies to help them build past the startup phase.

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Like Blue Bear’s first fund, the new fund will focus on digital technologies making an outsized impact in markets including wind, solar, the electric grid, EV infrastructure, transportation, and energy-intensive industries, said the company.

The announcement comes at a time when investment consulting firms are mobilising support to accelerate the global energy transition. Notably, on the same day, twelve major firms, responsible for advising institutional asset owners on assets of approximately $10 trillion, have launched the Net Zero Investment Consultants Initiative (NZICI) to commit to supporting the goal of global net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner.

The initiative, which has been led by some members of the Investment Consultants Sustainability Working Groups in the UK (ICSWG‐UK) and US (ICSWG‐US), is endorsed by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign and supported by the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The twelve investment consultants are: Barnett Waddingham, bfinance, Cambridge Associates, Cardano, Frontier, Hymans Robertson, JANA, LCP, Meketa, Redington, Willis Towers Watson and Wilshire.

Investment consultants play a crucial role within the savings and investment ecosystem. In addition to providing strategic advice to asset owners, such as pension funds, sovereign funds, insurers, etc., about investment beliefs, asset allocation, and so on, they also provide broader education on the long‐term investment risks and opportunities related to climate change, such as transition risk, physical risk and stranded assets risk.

“Trillions of dollars will be spent to scale renewable energy, modernize infrastructure, and secure sustainable supply chains,” said Blue Bear partner Ernst Sack.

“Meanwhile artificial intelligence is redefining how data is captured, decisions are made, and relationships are built all around us. Where these two forces converge — applying the power of AI-enabled technologies to the immense challenges of the energy transition — is where Blue Bear sees the greatest investment and impact opportunity of our lifetimes.”

Blue Bear investors in the new fund include premier institutions AIMS Imprint of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, ZOMA Capital, and the McKnight Foundation alongside leadership from over a dozen large private equity firms and energy companies. Advisory Board members include First Reserve President Alex Krueger, former NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, and former BP Chairman and CEO Lord John Browne.

The fund, which has backed nine new companies since 2020, will continue to invest in the two strategies that Blue Bear’s partners refer to as “nail a vertical” and “scale horizontal”. The first encompasses vertical SaaS solutions that address key operational bottlenecks and dominate niche use cases, especially in energy, infrastructure and climate tech markets. The second category features horizontal enterprise software that has value across many markets, across which Blue Bear accelerates access to energy and climate use cases.

It is important to note that investment firms are often the critical link between asset owners and asset managers, determining which firms and strategies are favoured for selection. Consultants also provide guidance to asset managers about ESG capabilities and climate competence, as well as advising on the development of new investment solutions.

This is the reason why the nine commitments developed for the NZICI, for instance, have been designed to facilitate alignment with the UN‐ convened Net‐Zero Asset Owner Alliance, the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative and other signatories of the Race to Zero campaign. They will work together with other signatories of net zero initiatives as a member of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ).

The first action point is to integrate advice on net-zero alignment into all consulting services “as soon as practically possible” – within two years. Clients will be supported to identify investment risks from climate change and use a mix of engagement and divestment to align portfolios with a net-zero pathway.

Advice will also be aligned with halving emissions by 2030 against using existing solutions. 2019 has been set as the baseline year for this ambition. The NZICI will report progress at least once a year.

NZICI members have additionally committed to set their own net-zero targets supported with 1.5C-aligned, interim targets, and to work more closely with the wider financial community on climate change. To this latter point, one of the action points commits members to “engaging, independently or as a group, with regulators and policymakers, to facilitate the transition to net-zero carbon emissions, addressing any barriers to our clients adopting and achieving their net-zero targets.”

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.

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