Smart Energy Fund powered by Ignitis Group and managed by Contrarian Ventures invested in Lithuanian start-up In Balance grid, a developer of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The total investment is 950 thousand euros, of them 250 thousand euros allocated by Smart Energy Fund.
The investment is made together with such co-investtors as Mantas Mikuckas, a co-founder of Vinted, the company that has achieved the status of the unicorn, and Ernestas Petkevičius, one of Business Angels.
Founded in 2019, In Balance grid develops smart electric vehicle charging solutions for commercial enterprises and network operators using the cloud computing software. The innovative software solutions of the start-up ensure functionalities that will be of extra importance for the electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the future. It represents the possibility to balance network capacity, integrated with third-party hardware and software, provide payment solutions and management of electricity demand in the event of network congestion.
“The solutions developed by In Balance grid team ensure a low-cost and efficient electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The electric car fleet is growing swiftly around the world, as a result, the demand for innovative car charging technologies is increasing. As a consequence, smarter and more convenient electric car charging solution encourages a faster transition to less polluting transport,“ – says Dominykas Tučkus, the member of the Board of Ignitis Group and the Director of Infrastructure and Development.
Investment in In Balance Grid is the first investment of the Smart Energy Fund after the start of the recent five-year period of the fund operation. During this period, the amount of investment in start-ups provided by the fund has increased to 2 million euros per year. In the late period, the fund invested up to 1 million euros per year in the start-up ecosystem.
A large part of future investments will go to Lithuanian start-ups. As before, investments will be targeted at companies in the smart energy and electrified mobility sectors, which are among the most promising companies.
“Such efforts, which accelerate the development of energy innovations in Lithuania, are precious because ensuring access to fiscal resources is particularly important for young companies. The Ministry of Energy, in turn, seeks to create the favourable legal conditions which would be most conducive to the development of energy innovation, which would enable unrestricted testing of innovative solutions under real conditions. A breakthrough in innovation is only expected by working in a complex manner,” says Lina Sabaitienė, Deputy Minister of Energy.
A venture capital fund Smart Energy Fund powered by Ignitis Group, founded in 2017, has already invested 3.4 million euros in 14 companies. Portfolio start-ups operate in six countries and develop novel technologies in energy and electric mobility, which can be directly applied in the activities of Ignitis Group. The fund has directed its investments in these 14 start-ups together with 22 co-investment partners, including such well-known companies as car manufacturers Hyundai and Honda, and energy giant BP.
“We all have heard about Lithuania’s progress in the field of financial technologies. This success story inspires and motivates us to strive for our country to become a leader in the smart energy sector. The decarbonisation of the energy sector is taking place around the world while illustrating that technologies and products, which appear to be of niche nature, soon will become part of everyday life. Meanwhile, the companies and states, whose investments are already now targeted in these future technologies, will become the biggest winners. We are convinced that these companies and countries would reach not only financial but also long-term strategic benefits”, – says Rokas Pečiulaitis, the Managing Partner at Contrarian Ventures.
The fund has already targeted its investments to a total of five Lithuanian start-ups, including the companies that successfully operate in the field of smart energy. One of them is PVcase, which has developed a tool to automate the process of designing solar power plants. Thanks to the latter, it is possible to quicken up the developing process of solar parks and thus contribute to the accelerated development of renewable energy. The income of PVcase has increased 135 times since the launch of the product in January 2019 to April 2020. Today the products of the company are used by more than 100 customers from 26 different countries, and the company has already hired 25 employees.
Smart Energy Fund powered by Ignitis Group and managed by Contrarian Ventures invests in start-ups that are developing new technologies in the energy technology field and helps them grow. internationally.