• The European Investment Bank (EIB) has committed another €50 million for co-investments with Inven Capital, a Czech venture capital fund, expanding their strategic partnership that started six years ago.
  • The EIB’s co-investment aims to leverage Inven’s market access and expertise to deploy EIB funding in smaller innovative companies and support tech solutions that can help reduce CO2 emissions.
  • The project will ease financial constraints for small businesses and mid-caps and contribute to the EIB’s research, innovation, digital, climate action and environmental sustainability policy objectives.
  • Inven Capital’s total assets under management now total over €500 million.

EIB and Inven Capital have doubled up on their strategic partnership, with the EIB committing a further €50 million to fund innovative clean-tech and decarbonisation startups. The EIB invested the initial €50 million alongside Inven over the period 2017-2022.

This renewed collaboration will provide equity to innovative EU small businesses and mid-caps in the areas of cleantech and decarbonisation and contribute further to the SME/Innovation window under the EU bank’s climate action and environmental sustainability goals. Some Inven investments are also beneficial to the pressing REPower EU initiative. They help consumers reduce their energy consumption and hence their reliance on Russian gas. These companies can then develop solutions to reduce their carbon footprint and other negative externalities in a wide range of sectors from agriculture to transportation and energy generation.

Inven Capital and the EIB have so far co-invested in companies that substantially contribute to greenhouse gas emission reduction in Europe. For instance, Czech portfolio company Woltair is helping households save more than 8 kt of CO2 annually thanks to heat pumps and photovoltaic modules that they have installed since Inven invested in the company. The German-based green hydrogen producer Sunfire has built installations that are saving more than 250 kt of CO2.

EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova said: “With its vast experience and a strong network in the cleantech sector, Inven is an ideal partner for the EIB to swiftly provide capital in this market, which is crucial to the European Union’s energy transition. It significantly increases the fund’s resources to support innovative small businesses and adds further expertise. Against the backdrop of this crisis, it is important that we work together with trusted partners to generate much-needed support for European businesses and turn the current situation into an opportunity to advance with cleaner, more sustainable energy generation.”

Member of the Board of Directors and Chief Renewable Energy and Distribution Officer of ČEZ Tomáš Pleskač stated: “Inven Capital has gradually broadened its scope of investments, and its portfolio significantly contributes to clean, sustainable, decentralised energy and to reducing global CO2 emissions in all areas of the economy, including transport, industry, international freight and agriculture. We are delighted with the European Investment Bank’s trust and appreciation of the fund’s work thus far and we look forward to our continued cooperation.”

Managing Director and Chairman of the Board of Inven Capital Petr Míkovec commented: “We view this continued partnership with the EIB as a major commitment in continuing to support outstanding startups with positive carbon reduction impact. In line with ČEZ Group’s Vision 2030, we at Inven Capital consider sustainability as one of our core values, implementing ESG (environmental, social and governance) screening into our investment process and actively supporting our portfolio companies in applying sustainable best practices.”

Inven strengthens its position on the market

Czech energy utility the ČEZ Group, which owns Inven Capital, has provided over €210 million for the fund’s 2022-2027 investment period. Together with the EIB’s input, Inven currently has more than €260 million at its disposal for new investments. With a total fund size of more than €500 million, Inven has bolstered its position as a strong and stable partner for innovative startups and co-investors, including major global players.

During the first investment period (2015-2022), Inven Capital screened some 3 200 investment opportunities and built a diversified portfolio of 16 companies from several European countries and Israel, of which five were already exited (fully or partially) with an average return of 36%. The invested companies employ almost 2 500 people. EIB has co-invested in eight of those, namely in the German companies Cloud&Heat, Tado°, Zolar and Forto, with the latter becoming the first unicorn in the 2021 portfolio including the French company CosmoTech, Swedish company Eliq, and Czech companies Neuron Soundware and Woltair.

Background information:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) finances projects in four priority areas — infrastructure, innovation, climate and environment, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Since the beginning of its lending operations in the Czech Republic in 1992, the EIB has invested some €24 billion in the country supporting all key sectors of the Czech economy — including small businesses, transport, infrastructure, and energy. 

EIB Global finances sound investment contributing to EU policy goals, including a global just transition to climate neutrality. A subsidiary of the EIB, the European Investment Fund (EIF) is Europe’s largest venture capital and private equity financier.

At a press conference held in Brussels on 2 February 2023, the EIB Group also unveiled a new logo, which aligns its corporate branding and visual identity alongside that of the other EU institutions and bodies. The new logo is based on two main elements: the European flag and a graphic element representing the silhouette of the EIB Group’s headquarters in Luxembourg.

About REPowerEU: The new co-investment initiative will enable Inven Capital to continue in its mission to invest in and support the growth of cleantech startups with innovations that can scale positive change and eliminate negative planetary impact, focusing mainly on the topics of decarbonisation and sustainability. This cooperation also furthers the objectives of the European Commission’s REPowerEU plan designed to save and produce clean energy and diversify our energy supplies, and is backed by financial and legal means to build the new energy infrastructure that Europe needs. REPowerEU sets out a series of measures to rapidly reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels and fast-forward the green transition, while increasing energy system resilience EU-wide. The plan is based on finding alternative energy supplies, making behavioural changes to save energy and spurring investment in renewable energy. 

INVEN CAPITAL is the ČEZ Group´s venture capital fund. Its strategy is to seek out investment opportunities in innovative and fast-growing cleantech startups, with a focus on CO2 footprint reduction. They primarily target later-stage growth investment opportunities with a sound business model based on realised revenues and long-term growth potential. The fund is a member of Invest Europe (European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association) and CVCA (Czech Private Equity and Venture Capital Association). Since 2015, INVEN CAPITAL has invested in a total of 16 companies and has made successful full exits from four of them.