Oil & Gas Majors Backing Innovation in Clean Technology with Greater Regularity
We often note the importance of corporate venturing in fostering clean technology innovation. Corporates, thanks to their big balance sheets and operational experience, are often the optimal partner for cleantech companies looking to scale and commercialize a new technology or service. And for several years now, our deal-tracking on i3 has shown that consistently one-fifth of all cleantech venture deals have exhibited corporate investor participation.
In August, 2013, following a conversation I had with Jean-Michel Gires, a partner at Canadian energy venture capital firm Chrysalix, I published a post to this blog specifically highlighting the increased activity of oil & gas (O&G) majors in corporate venturing related to clean technology. This seems antithetical to many observers who continue to view conventional energy industries as the enemy of sustainable alternatives but, in fact, our data show quite the opposite to be true. Having released our full-year 2013 investment data (webinar recording, slide deck, and data available to subscribers on i3), I recently updated our data on just how many and how frequently O&G corporates are actively investing. From the chart at right, it’s clear that the O&G industry is embracing cleaner energy and resource technologies more closely than ever before. And to be clear, this is not just O&G companies investing in technological innovation in their own industry – our data show they are supporting a diverse portfolio of new technologies, from solar PV to biofuels and beyond.