NEWS AND INSIGHTS FROM FINTRX
In utilizing the FINTRX Private Wealth Data Platform, we highlight five family offices making investments into alternative energy. Equipped with accurate and comprehensive data on thousands of transactions from 3,800+ family offices globally, our data intelligence platform provides in-depth insights on how these private wealth management firms continue to influence and shape the alternative and renewable energy sectors.
As the first employee and president of eBay, Jeff Skoll has amassed a substantial net worth of $4.1 billion. In 2000, he created his own family office, which includes the Capricorn Investment Group. Focused on impact investing, Capricorn seeks to promote sustainable markets and manages $8.73 billion in assets out of Palo Alto, CA. Skoll also owns Participant Media, a film production company that creates movies focusing on social and environmental disasters.
In an effort to counteract the potentially harmful effects of fossil fuels on the environment, Capricorn has made significant investments in alternative energy companies, including Twelve. Seeking to extract carbon from CO2 emissions rather than from fossil fuels, Twelve revolutionizes the petrochemical space, and the company expects massive results to fight global warming with the ability to replicate photosynthesis on an industrial scale. Originally called Opus 12, this company has received significant funding from Capricorn. In June 2022, the firm led the $130 million Series B round after previously participating in their July 2021 Series A worth $57 million.
Outside of the fuel industry, Capricorn invests in companies that produce similar positive impacts. One such company, Magrathea Metals, raised a $10 million seed round with participation from Capricorn. Focused on actualizing metal production without the environmental harms of mining, Magrathea seeks to encourage industries to use their alternative, as magnesium metal is able to be made without open pit mining (which is harmful to the environment) and produces stronger metal than steel and aluminum. Additionally, Span.IO, an electrical panel for smart houses that tracks electrons, received $96.5 million in an April 2023 Series B2 funding. Capricorn participated in fundraising for this San Francisco-based firm to assist in leadership and research acceleration. Span.IO also previously received contributions from Capricorn in their 2020 Series A.
Established in 2018, Formica Capital manages and actively invests money on behalf of Madeleine Olsson Eriksson and her family. Her father, Sten Olsson, founded the shipping and ferry company Stena Sphere in 1939 which now operates throughout Europe. Olsson Eriksson has amassed a net worth of $1.11 billion with a 12.5% stake in Stena, but is also a licensed gynecologist with her own clinic in Gothenburg, Sweden. Formica, the Latin word for 'ant', was created in 2018 to encourage individual contribution and impact investing. Olsson Eriksson’s team is based in Gothenburg and primarily invests in private equity rounds focused on energy.
Within their impact investment strategy, the Formica Capital team is active in investments in the alternative energy sector. Intended to harness energy from the heat of the Earth’s core, geothermal energy is a renewable and sustainable form of energy that has attracted recent investments from Formica. Rototec, a geo-energy group founded in 2007, specializes in drilling thermal energy wells. Moreover, following a 2021 acquisition, Formica has become the principal shareholder in all seven subsidiaries of Rototec. Additionally, Ecokraft, a company that extracts solar cells used especially for the Nordic climate, received a private equity investment from Formica in 2020. To support solar cell extraction, Ecokraft supplies an array of products, including roof installations, solar parks, and battery storage solutions.
Formica Capital also participated in a $10.6 million funding round for ChargeNode, an electric car charging method. Designed to centralize charging for a variety of electric vehicles, the product has seen significant success in Sweden already with 28,000 installations. The company is focused on load balancing, a form of electrical communication to eliminate excess energy use. In addition, Formica injected $23 million in a recent Series C funding round for Orbital Systems--a circular shower system designed to eliminate water waste and reduce energy use. With a high water flow, stable pressure, and precise temperature, the device seeks to purify and recycle shower water. The company introduced a tap system set to launch this year, which uses drained tap water to flush your toilet.
The Büll Family Office manages the wealth of Albert H. K. Büll, the co-founder of the investment firm B&L Group. In 2019, Abacon Capital was created to serve as an additional investment arm. Based in Hamburg, Germany, Abacon Capital prefers sustainable energy investments and aims to concentrate on “New Age Mobility” and “UrbanTech”.
CustomCells, a battery development company based out of Itzehoe, Germany, received a $63 million Series A in December 2022. CustomCells has an entire division focused on accurately producing battery electrodes that can assist various services to maintain renewable energy. Additionally, CustomCells provides electrochemical mixing and lithium-ion production. The various services CustomCells offers all aim to amplify productivity and client-specific use. With their Series A funding, CustomCells will explore the electrification of air travel.
Solar energy is becoming significantly more attractive for alternative energy investors. Holaluz, a photovoltaic electricity generator and measurement solution, aims to create an “all-inclusive” solar energy service. The renewable energy service sells and installs solar panels in Spain and ensures installation within 45 days. Using a comprehensive use evaluation, Holaluz is able to provide its customers with a fixed-rate energy charge. Preserving renewable energy using solar panels and batteries also allows customers to charge their electric vehicles at home. Abacon contributed to Holaluz’s December 2021 funding round of $7.6 million.
Similarly, Enpal, a German solar panel provider, has received funding from Abacon in two of their recent funding rounds, one of which was a $100 million Series C in June 2021. The German company poses an interesting possibility of renting solar panels rather than entirely purchasing them, which allows more individuals to access renewable energy. Similar to Holaluz, Enpal allows customers to charge their electric vehicles. With 48,000 clients already, Enpal has built a successful chain within Germany. The use of their application also allows customers to view specifics about their energy use.
Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes is the co-founder of Atlassian, a cloud connection software for business development, collaboration, and security. Cannon-Brookes founded his family office, Grok Ventures, in 2016 in Surry Hills, Australia. The firm tends to invest in Australian technology companies that are actively contributing towards renewable energy. In 2021, Cannon-Brookes pledged $1.5 billion of his net worth towards fighting climate change.
Traditional solar panels use a significant amount of silver to transition solar power to energy. SunDrive Solar, an Australian company, has developed a technology that employs copper instead of silver to boost efficiency in that process. With the completion of their October 2022 Series A totaling $21 million (USD), SunDrive will continue to produce solar panels for Australia using their copper-based solution. Similarly, Sun Cable, an Australian solar energy infrastructure network, received Series B funding of $136 million (USD) in 2022. Seeking to connect Asia and Australia under one solar electrical grid, Sun Cable’s “Australia-Asia PowerLink” was estimated to be a $20 billion cost. However, after the project was put on hold due to disagreements, Grok Ventures recently co-acquired Sun Cable’s project.
The firm also made investments into WeaveGrid, a San Francisco-based company that assists utility companies in adapting to electrical vehicles to the grid and aims to “drive the rapid decarbonization of the transportation and electric networks.” The company's Series B in November 2022 raised $35 million with help from Grok.
Cannon-Brookes also has an 11% stake in AGL Energy, Australia’s largest gas and electricity company, after a Post-IPO Equity in May 2022 worth $470 million. Grok Ventures seeks to promote renewable electricity from within the company.
Louis Bacon is an American businessman who amassed his wealth from commodities trading and the 1987 market crash. In 1989, he founded Moore Capital Management to manage the funds of high-net-worth individuals. In 2014, Moore Ventures was created as Bacon’s personal family office and venture capital fund and is based in New York. Moore is actively seeking to invest in businesses that promote a low-carbon economy, renewable energy, and wildlife preservation. The company operates under “#CompassionateCapitalism”, and employs a diverse approach to their team and investment strategy to drive profit. Bacon is also an active philanthropist, with a concentration in wildlife and water preservation.
Recent energy investments from the Moore Ventures team follow the expectations for their investment criteria. In August 2023, Kraftblock received a $22 million Series B funding from six total investors, including Moore. The software recycles heat into renewable energies to avoid waste. Seeking to avoid fossil fuel use and create a scalable technology, the German company is making significant strides toward decarbonization. GridX is an energy software intended to capitalize on clean energy and promote decarbonization. Partnering with utility and energy suppliers, GridX explains to customers how their choices can impact their bills. As self-proclaimed “Clean Energy Catalysts”, GridX closed their Series C in April 2022 for $40 million with contributions from Moore.
Utilidata, a company that employs AI through a chip, intends to improve the overall electric grid. With advanced computing capabilities and censoring, Utilidata is aiming for decarbonization. Based in Providence, RI, this company received an additional $26.75 million in February 2022 with support from Moore Ventures. Additionally, the rechargeable, low-cost lithium-sulfur battery product from Zeta Energy has recently received support from Moore with a $23 million Series A in February 2022.
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August 17, 2023
Mae O'Neill is a member of the FINTRX research & data team, dedicated to delivering targeted and relevant family office & registered investment advisor (RIA) content & insights.