The ICMol Innovation and Industry Breakfasts received a few days ago EIT-Innoenergy, a company that was born with the impulse of the European Commission as one of the first knowledge and innovation communities (KIC), financed by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology ( EIT). The objective of the KICs is to unite companies, universities and research centers to create European-based industrial value chains around global challenges, in this case sustainable energy.
With an audience of about dozens of researchers, Teresa Grijelmo, InnoEnergy Investment Advisor, and Lluís Molina, Business Development Manager of the European Battery Alliance (EBA), presented the company's strategic lines and detailed some success stories of linked startups to their acceleration programs. They not only offer financing, but also advisory services and access to a network with large energy industries.
“We are very focused on small innovative companies and we act as venture capital to accelerate them and make them grow in very early stages”, explained Grijelmo during her presentation. "We are an investment vehicle in companies with risk and in very early stages," he added, with great interest in "getting it right" in the choice and recovering the investment, but "very focused" on fulfilling what is strategically entrusted to them from Europe.
The three pillars of Innoenergy's strategy are education, investment and industrial development, Molina explained. “And we focus on small innovative companies”, he clarified, “wherever the innovation comes from, be it from the private initiative or from the universities”. What is relevant, he added, "is to have a product, equipment and disruptive capacity."
Innoenergy currently has 1,200 partners, 29 offices and more than 180 companies in the portfolio. Of these, he participates in 3 "unicorns (more than 1,000 million dollars in valuation, according to the so-called 'bestiary' of startups), 6 "centaurs" (100 million) and 47 ponies (10 million). In addition, 1,600 students have completed their training master's degrees.
In its 13 years of existence, Innoenergy has participated, for example, in the acceleration of already consolidated companies such as Northvolt, considered a European strategic company for the manufacture of batteries. “When we met Northvolt it wasn't much more than a Powerpoint presentation, but they were clear about the business model,” Grijelmo said.
Molina explained that currently there is no renewable energy sector outside of the requirement to recycle its critical materials or, in the case of electric batteries, their adaptation for a second life. And that it is not only about exploiting market niches and business opportunities, but about channeling vital trends for the energy independence of the European Union.
Asked by the meeting moderator, Manuel Quesada, he cited the enormous challenge that arises with the batteries. "Producers who use raw materials that are especially scarce face a serious problem and, for this reason, we are interested in the entire value chain, starting with mining".
The ICMol #InnovationBreakfasts are an initiative coordinated by the ICMol Transfer and Innovation unit, headed by Manuel Quesada, with Francisco Marqués and Ruth Manzanares, ICMol manager. This program of activities has the support of the Valencian Innovation Agency (AVI) of the Generalitat Valenciana and the Feder Funds of the European Commission.