The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Geert van de Wouw, Shell
While chemicals company DuPont was the largest corporate venturing group of the 1960s and before, oil major Exxon was probably the largest CVC in the 1970s, having been founded the decade before. Exxon Enterprises’ subsequent fall and sale for $1m in the 1980s has proved an academic case study of CVC management techniques.
Exxon’s closure has also allowed peer Shell to claim on its website: “Continuing Shell’s tradition as the first corporate venture fund in the oil and gas industry founded in 1998, we act as an investor and a partner in the commercialisation of innovation.”
And Geert van de Wouw, managing director of corporate venturing arm Shell Technology Ventures (STV), has capitalised on the opportunity by continuing to invest through the oil price dislocation of the past few years. He said the “past year was very active and exciting for STV” with investments in Geli, Maana, Sense, Kite Power Solutions, Rocsole, Neomatix and two internal smart mobility incubation startups and, most recently in 2017, Halfwave.
Halfwave, a Norway-based based service company specialising in acoustic resonance technology, reflects how oil and gas companies are using venturing to reduce costs as oil prices remain under pressure and falling to $50 a barrel last month.
STV and University of Texas Investment Management Company funding will be used for Halfwave’s pipeline and subsea services to check infrastructure and followed Energy Ventures and Chevron Technology Ventures backing the startup in 2012.
STV’s investments have been separate from Shell Foundation’s $250m commitment to impact investing, such as Envirofit, a social enterprise that develops low-cost clean cookstoves, which raised $4m, and D.light, a solar energy provider that has raised more than $22m.
Van de Wouw added: “We also co-sponsored and hosted Energy Fest at the Shell Technology Centre Amsterdam, an event that brought together investors, innovators, government officials and thought leaders to stimulate collaboration. We have recently opened an office in San Francisco, and may soon be adding personnel in other locations around the globe.”