24 May 2017
Artesian has announced the completion of a $26 million capital raise for the Clean Energy Seed Fund, including $10 million commitments from cornerstone investor the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Australian Ethical Investment, and further investments from Hostplus and Future Super. Artesian launched the fund in September last year with a $20 million target, including the $10 million cornerstone commitment from the new Clean Energy Innovation Fund. The Seed Fund is registered with Innovation and Science Australia as an early stage venture capital partnership (ESVCLP) providing investors with tax-free returns.
The Fund will invest in startups at seed stage via dedicated clean energy accelerators such as EnergyLab which is supported by Climate-KIC Australia, based on the EU's leading cleantech innovation platform. The first cohort of EnergyLab startups include Eveeh, Iron Matrix, Blue Volt and Energy Panda.
The Fund can also invest in clean energy startups sourced from the broader Australian startup ecosystem, including accelerators, incubators, university programs and angel groups. The Fund will invest at seed, angel and later stage follow-on rounds in 30-50 startups over its 4-year investment period.
Renewables already provide about 17% of Australian power usage, with hydro accounting for 10%, and wind and solar comprising 7% between them, and are becoming the cheapest form of new power generation. Building new renewable energy supply will not only help with stability and security, but put downward pressure on prices. Innovative startups are creating new ways to produce, store, distribute, own and trade energy.
The Fund will target scalable, high growth potential startups fuelling innovation and creating opportunities in the development of clean technology across sectors such as the internet of things, energy storage, biofuels, alternative energy generation (solar, wave, geothermal, wind), metering and control, green building and biomaterials, transport technologies, water and waste.
Artesian Managing Partner Jeremy Colless comments, "The investments in the Clean Energy Seed Fund from high profile institutional investors are a validation of the Fund's objectives and a huge vote of confidence that Australian clean energy entrepreneurs and startups can be at the forefront of the revolution in clean energy innovation. The initial cornerstone commitment from the Clean Energy Innovation Fund has been pivotal to this success.
"Australia has the potential and resources to excel in several innovation verticals, including Clean Energy, AgTech and Medical Devices. By developing strong startup activity in these verticals, Australia can address major Asia-Pacific mega trends including food security, healthcare spending and sustainable energy, creating domestic jobs and building export opportunities.
"The Clean Energy Seed Fund will play a critical role in helping establish a national clean energy startup ecosystem, encouraging and supporting entrepreneurs, backing accelerator programs, attracting co-investors, and engaging with international, especially Asian, partners and markets."
CEFC's Investment Development Director Blair Pritchard commented, "We are delighted with the strong interest from investors, which greatly exceeded our expectations. It's a fantastic vote of confidence in the clean energy sector. With the Fund reaching a total of $26 million, including the CEFC's own $10 million cornerstone investment via the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, it will be enough to see more dedicated clean energy accelerators popping up around the country."
The Clean Energy Innovation Fund draws on the finance and skills of the CEFC and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
Australian Ethical Investment's Chief Investment Officer, David Macri, commented, "We are very excited to commit our $10 million alongside the CEFC in what we consider to be a truly unique investment proposition. The need to transition our economy off fossil fuels is clear which will undoubtedly create many investment opportunities as well as risks. By investing in clean energy startups we are able to take advantage of the opportunities and assist our portfolios to continue to deliver superior risk adjusted returns for our investors. We look forward to developing the partnership with Artesian and are proud to support the growing cleantech industry as our 'old-economy' rapidly evolves."
Future Super's managing director, Simon Sheikh, commented, "Future Super is pleased to announce our investment in Australia's renewable technology start-up ecosystem through the Artesian Clean Energy Seed Fund. Future Super is committed to accelerating the transition to 100% renewable energy. Our members will be thrilled to know that, in addition to already investing in renewable energy assets and companies at home and abroad, part of their superannuation is now funding the clean energy entrepreneurs bringing Australia's innovative climate solutions to market."
David Elia, CEO of Hostplus, commented, "Not only are we optimistic in the long-term risk adjusted returns investments like this deliver to our members, but more fundamentally we believe this genuinely addresses the much-needed focus on unlocking Australian innovation that targets clean energy solutions."
Artesian is a specialised investment manager with a unique, highly scalable, diversified portfolio approach to early stage venture capital investments, targeting both financial and strategic returns for HNWI, corporates and institutional investors.
Artesian initially applies a smart-beta/diversified strategy to build optionality/pro rata follow on rights and then creates alpha via in-house stock picking expertise deploying larger amounts of capital in growth and pre-IPO opportunities. Artesian's approach provides investors with a pipeline of pre-screened and de-risked startup investment opportunities in which to make larger, late-stage investments.
Artesian is the investment manager for a number of early stage venture capital limited partnerships including the Sydney Angels Sidecar Fund, BlueChilli Venture Fund, Slingshot Venture Fund, iAccelerate Seed Fund and the ilab Venture Fund. Artesian also is the investment manager for the Australian Venture Capital Fund of Funds (AFOF).
Australian Ethical is Australia's leading ethical wealth manager. Since 1986, Australian Ethical has provided investors with wealth management products that align with their values and without compromising returns. Investments are guided by the Australian Ethical Charter which both shapes its ethical approach, and underpins the Company's culture and vision.
Australian Ethical has $2 billion in funds under management, across superannuation and managed funds.
Future Super is Australia's first fossil-fuel free superannuation fund. Future Super's investment strategy is to select companies that provide competitive financial returns and have a positive impact on the environment and society. This includes avoiding all companies directly involved in coal, oil and gas, as well as companies that provide support to the fossil fuel industry. Future Super believes that we can't prevent climate change if we continue to invest in its causes. Since its launch in September 2014, Future Super has helped its 6,900 members collectively shift over $245 million away from fossil-fuel exposed super funds..
Hostplus is the industry superannuation fund for those who live and love hospitality, tourism, recreation and sport. We focus on providing our members with quality superannuation services and ultimately in retirement. With close to 1 million members, more than 110,000 employers and over $20 billion in funds under management, the scale and ongoing growth of the fund allows for low member costs and a broad range of investment opportunities.