Some of the most exciting innovations in the field of sustainability have come from startups. It may be because they are nimble, have a unique perspective, and are ready to deploy technology in innovative ways. And the fact that investors are increasingly investing in sustainability-focused startups is proof of the capability and expertise they bring to the table.
Funding for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-focused startups has doubled since 2020, according to research by NGP Capital, a global growth-stage investment firm, which added that SDG-relevant startups founded in 2015 or after raised $24.2 billion in venture capital last year (2021).
So it’s no wonder that Based in Bangalore Enzena sustainability-focused company, has a keen interest in startups.
The company began investing in sustainability-focused startups in 2015 when it injected around half a million dollars into Luminous Renewable Energy Solutions, which was later rebranded as Wish Energy.
Since then, the 16-year-old company has invested $50 million in 10 sustainability-focused startups and earmarked $10 million annually for investments in other such startups.
Founded by Satheesh Kumar, Enzen helps businesses, governments, non-governmental organizations and non-profit organizations become greener and deploy environmentally friendly practices. It also helps industries explore renewable energy options, optimize their operations to reduce carbon footprint, and find ways to reduce carbon emissions.
(Credit: Yash Saxena, Team YourStory Design)
Enzen’s vision is to make energy and water more affordable, accessible and sustainable for everyone. It does this by identifying client challenges, developing strategies to address them, so they become sustainable, and then measuring the results.
“Sustainability is a multi-million dollar canvas in India, but the demand gap, not just in India, is widening,” says Satheesh Kumar, CEO and Founder of Enzen.
Explaining the gap between supply and demand, he says that several facets of sustainability require smarter solutions than exist, such as:
- Technology, especially in terms of innovation
- Electric vehicles
- Energetic efficiency
- Technology to help monitor and maintain existing infrastructure focused on sustainability
- Hybrid energy, blue energy, wave energy
- Sustainable transport technologies
“Startups can play a central role in these areas, especially when it comes to technological innovation,” says Satheesh.
Enzen actively invests and partners with startups that provide clean energy solutions in India, Spain, Australia, UK, USA and other countries.
In 2017, the Indian cleantech market was valued at over $25 billion, and this figure is expected to grow exponentially.
By the end of 2030, the Indian government hopes to meet 40% of its total energy needs from renewable resources, up from 22% currently.
(Design credit: Yash Saxena)
Adopt a partnership approach
Enzen does not approach investments from a purely financial point of view. If Satheesh thinks a startup might be a valuable partner, he explores a mutually beneficial deal with them.
“We don’t have a formula for how we approach investments. We keep an open mind and assess how best to add value to a vision, theirs or ours,” says Satheesh.
Enzen invests in companies at different stages of growth. He also funded founders and startups that were still in the ideation stage.
(Design credit: Yash Saxena)
“As long as it helps us achieve our vision, we are open to all opportunities,” says Satheesh.
Enzen has set its sights on an initial public offering once markets have calmed down and has begun talks with investment bankers. With public capital, it hopes to expand its operations and fund more companies focused on clean and green energy.