A new cleantech investment platform has been launched by Energy Impact Partners (EIP) to ensure underrepresented groups have access to funding that will enable them to play a role in the transition to low-carbon and smart technologies.
EIP, with the assistance of global corporate partners, has launched the Elevate Future Fund (Elevate) to create a more diverse founder community and inclusive venture capital ecosystem within the broader energy transition.
Commenting on the aim of Elevate, Anthony Oni, Managing Partner, Elevate Future Fund, said: “We need all the talent we can muster to solve our environmental and sustainability challenges – that means investing in and supporting the underrepresented founders too long left out of the clean energy transition.
“With the Elevate Future Fund, we’re bringing intention to how we build an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable environment for diverse talent – one where we’re providing not only capital, but the supports, mentorship, and systems needed to ensure durable, lasting impact.”
A total of $120 million in funding is being raised and dispersed via Elevate, with more than 50% of the target already reached. US utility PPL Corporation joined EIP by pledging $50 million in funding for Elevate.
In addition to helping support underrepresented communities, Vincent Sorgi, the CEO of PPL Corporation, said: “We recognise that it will take new systems and technologies to achieve net-zero emissions while preserving energy reliability and affordability, and we look forward to partnering with EIP to fuel this innovation.”
Sorgi said that it will take new ideas, technology and systems to achieve a net-zero emissions future that preserves energy reliability and affordability.
Energy Impact Partners is also collaborating with other partners through Elevate including; Ameren, Microsoft, Alliant Energy, the Tennessee Valley Authority Asset Retirement Trust, Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, and more.
Elevate has already made three investments in companies led or founded by diverse talent. The three investments include the Los Angeles-based company, ChargerHelp! a Black women-owned startup that has developed a mobile application and web-based platform for rapid, on-demand repair of electric vehicle charging stations. The Elevate investment will help ChargerHelp! expand its service and improve its technology.
Elevate has also invested in Project Canary, an international environmental standards company based in Denver, and HopSkipDrive, a youth transportation solution for schools, districts, government agencies, and families.
To expand the investment pipeline, the fund will be partnering with technology accelerators and universities, including historically black colleges to recruit talent from underrepresented groups. In addition to funding, corporate investors of Elevate will also provide other resources to support talent recruitment and technology development.
The launch of Elevate comes at a time demand for technologies to decarbonise, electrify and enhance the reliability and resilience of infrastructure continue to increase. As such, ensuring the participation of all sectors and community groups in the research and development of solutions will increase the availability of technologies and resources.
Hans Kobler, Founder and CEO of EIP, added: “As we reshape the low carbon economy of the future, it is important that this future is equitable, diverse and inclusive. We have a lot to improve upon and formed Elevate to help advance this important cause.”
About the Author
Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event’s Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.