Apr 13, 2021 - Energy & Environment

New Texas-based VC firm to exclusively invest in energy transition tech

Illustration of a light bulb wearing a cowboy hat

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new Houston-based VC firm called Energy Transition Ventures emerged from stealth mode Tuesday and plans to reach $75 million for its first fund.

Why it matters: It's another sign of how Texas, the nation's largest oil producing state, is increasingly becoming a hub for clean energy innovation.

  • ETV says they're the "first venture fund in Texas exclusively dedicated to investing in energy transition technologies."

The big picture: ETV will target early stage North American startups focused on distributed energy, electrification, mobility, and resource efficiency.

  • “Texas is the energy capital of the world, and outside of corporate venture capital, there are not many venture funds in the state,” co-founder Craig Lawrence said in a release.
  • Lawrence said he expects their portfolio to include Texas-based companies.
  • "Texas is in the early days of building an energy-transition startup ecosystem, and we plan to be a central part of growing that sector," he tells Axios.

Details: The "anchor" investment is from two subsidiaries of Korean conglomerate GS Group, including their California-based GS Futures VC arm.

  • The new firm is headed by energy VC and startup veterans. Lawrence was with Accel Partners during the first cleantech boom and also brings solar sector experience.
  • Neal Dikeman has worked for Shell's corporate VC arm, helped launch the Bay Area firm Jane Capital and has co-founded several startups.

What we're watching: Lawrence tells Axios they plan to work with the energy transition efforts of major oil-and-gas companies and other Texas energy firms.

  • "We will bring them startups that may be relevant to their businesses, and co-invest in startups with them when it makes sense," he said.
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