Venture firm Vireo Ventures has received an undisclosed sum from the utility’s CVC unit, representing the latter’s second fund investment.

Crispin Leick, EnBW Ventures,

Image of Crispin Leick courtesy of EnBW New Ventures.

EnBW New Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of German electric utility firm EnBW, has invested in the new electrification fund raised by venture capital firm Vireo Ventures, to get more insights into new startups in the mobility and logistics sectors.

EnBW, launched in 2015, typically invests in startups directly, but has made occasional “fund of funds” investments, for example backing climatetech-oriented VC firm ETF Partners as a limited partner.

“Our focus is on direct investments in startups,” Crispin Leick (pictured), managing director of EnBW New Ventures and a GCV Powerlist mainstay, said.

“We only invest in funds if we have known the teams for some time and they are familiar with their subject area. It is also important to us that our direct investment strategy benefits from the investment.”

Vireo Ventures was founded in 2020 and specialises in young companies operating in the energy, mobility, smart city, decarbonisation, digitalisation and logistics sectors. EnBW invested an undisclosed sum in the company’s Electrifications Fund I.

Through this partnership, EnBW New Ventures intends to identify additional seed and early-stage investment opportunities. In April this year, it backed carbon management platform Cozero, which was introduced by Vireo.

“It is a great vote of confidence that the corporate venture capital unit of such a large energy group as EnBW is investing in us, and we are delighted to be expanding our network of experts as a result,” added Felix Krause, managing partner at Vireo Ventures.

EnBW New Ventures is a €100m ($110m) evergreen fund that targets digital and sustainable energy infrastructure technology developers. It has 20 active portfolio companies and scored five exits.

The unit typically invests between €1m and €10m per deal in European startups at series A stage and beyond, having also backed climatetech-oriented VC firm ETF Partners as a limited partner.

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.