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Lilium raises €10M Series A from Atomico to commercialise its electric VTOL jet

On-demand urban air transportation is the next big thing according to Daniel Wiegand, CEO and Co-Founder of Lilium. The German aviation startup develops an electric VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft called Lilium jet since 2015. Today, Atomico invests €10M Series A and Niklas Zennström joins the board. Daniel and his team of 35 employees have the vision to make urban aviation electric, silent and available for everyone with the help of airtaxis and other aviation services. Uber also shares the vision that urban mobility should go vertical and is already working on matching pilots and passengers that want to bypass street-level congestion and traffic jams. In October 2016, the Californian mobility giant unveiled Uber Elevate in a 97-page must-read whitepaper. It would be no surprise if they soon co-invested in Lilium as übercool VTOL jets are the missing link to launch Uber in the air.

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Statkraft Ventures teams up with ETF Partners and leads $5M Series A in Greenbird from Norway

Ubiquitous smart meters are a key infrastructure component for the smart green utilities of the future because they generate a lot of valuable data and enable new energy services and dynamic pricing. In fact, it is a surprise that smart meter rollouts happen rather slowly in most countries due to slow regulators and hesitant utilities that are not yet ready to make substantial upfront investments in millions of smart meters that may bring more economic benefits to consumers than to the utilities themselves. Luckily, the Nordic countries and their resident startups have a headstart. Today, Düsseldorf-based corporate VC Statkraft Ventures leads the $5M Series A in Greenbird teaming up with London-based ETF Partners who were on the top of their potential co-investor list. The Norwegian energy IoT startup is Statkraft’s second investment this year after DEPsys from Switzerland in June.

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Relayr raises $23M Series B from Munich RE/HSB Ventures, KPCB and Munich Venture Partners

The Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 and the insurance industry are coming together. Berlin-based IoT startup Relayr raises $23M (€20.7M) Series B from Munich RE/HSB Ventures, KPCB and Munich Venture Partners. It turns out that the industrial insurance company Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB), since 2009 part of Munich RE, has started to embrace IoT a while ago to make their life easier and insurance business smarter. In a nutshell, HSB insures manufacturing companies against the risk of equipment breakdown and other reasons for suboptimal factory performance. By making the machines smart and connecting them to the Relayr cloud, their health status can be monitored online. If the automated machine data analysis identifies any problems, the malfunctioning machines can be repaired or replaced before it is too late and the production line has to be put on hold without knowing why.

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ParkBee raises €1.8M from InnovationQuarter and angels

Wouter de Bruijne pitched ParkBee at Ecosummit Amsterdam on 7 July 2016 and explained why sharing commercial parking assets is a smart green business idea. Today, Wouter and the Co-founders Jian Jiang and Tom Buchmann celebrate having raised €1.8M from InnovationQuarter, the regional development agency for West Holland, and 4 undisclosed angel investors. The Dutch startup makes unused private parking garages, mainly office building car parks, available to the public. This makes sense as cars are parking most of the time and everybody knows how difficult it is to find parking in crowded city centres, especially when you are in a hurry to your next business meeting or running multiple private errands on a busy day. ParkBee is integrated in the Dutch parking apps Parkmobile, which is majority owned by BMW since 2015, and Park-line rather than trying to build their own consumer brand.

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Sonnen raises €76M Series D led by Envision Energy and targets IPO

This is a massive financing round. In fact, it is the biggest equity round raised by any Ecosummit startup so far because Sonnen‘s €76M Series D is pure equity. Christoph Ostermann pitched for the first time at Ecosummit Düsseldorf 2012 when he was still working on his Series A. Having secured €20M in three prior funding rounds, the total venture capital raised now amounts to €96M. The new investors are the Chinese wind turbine maker Envision Energy and the family office of Thomas Pütter, ex-CEO of Allianz Capital Partners. At the same time, GE Ventures that were announced as a new investor in June 2016 and the early investors Ecapital, SET Ventures, Munich Venture Partners and Inven Capital all participated in the Series D, too. Make no mistake, Sonnen is a well-funded and licensed utility that challenges all incumbent utilities by inventing new energy services and making electricity free for owners of PV and battery systems.

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SET Ventures announces investment in Energyworx at Ecosummit London 2016

Our smart green innovation community is making more deals and sharing breaking news at Ecosummit. During today’s ECO16 London presentation, Rene Savelsberg announces the new investment of SET Ventures in Energyworx, the Dutch software provider for energy data analytics and management for utilities. SET Ventures joins the existing investor HenQ to complete Energyworx’ Series A in which both VCs co-invested a couple of million Euros and made additional capital reserves for follow-on investments. Energyworx is the first investment since the Amsterdam-based smart energy VC reached the first closing of SET Fund II at €60M in February 2016. With the software skills of HenQ and the energy experience and network of SET Ventures Energyworx is now poised to accelerate its growth and win new utility customers in Europe and America.

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Ecosummit accelerates smart green London on 11 October 2016 at CodeNode

We believe that startups need corporates and corporates need startups. Startups need corporates as development partners, customers, distribution channels and investors to make better products and grow faster. At the same time, corporates need startups to sell new products to their customer base and survive the global competition. By connecting the companies that should be connected, Ecosummit accelerates startups, investors and corporates with a focus on smart green energy, mobility and cities. Our unique conferences are a physical marketplace enabling personal meetings and long-term relationships in a relaxed and productive atmosphere. Our next Ecosummit takes place on 11 October 2016 at CodeNode in the City of London. The agenda features 37 startup pitches and the conference will be recorded for our YouTube channel Ecosummit TV. Check out our participants, get your tickets and join us. Let’s warm up with a few innovation stories that will be elaborated at ECO16 London.

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Heliatek raises €80M Series D to increase production capacity by a factor of 40

Capital-intensive smart green startups in Europe aiming at building their own hardware factories have a hard time fundraising. Financially motivated VCs require capital efficiency and prefer hardware startups that outsource manufacturing and the necessary CAPEX. Financing new PV factories in Europe is even more difficult due to China’s hegemony. It turns out it can only be done if you develop the next generation of PV technology, continuously improve efficiency and work diligently on building a co-investor syndicate of family offices, corporates and governments. Keep in mind that it was the Chinese government that backed a myriad of Chinese manufacturers to hijack the global PV industry. After a very long fundraising journey, 10-year old Organic Photovoltaics (OPV) pioneer Heliatek finally found the capital to build its second 3G solar factory in Dresden, Germany’s epicentre of photonics and organic semiconductors.

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Smart green VCs you should know

Since 2010, we got to know many smart green VCs in Europe and the US and have written 44 short fund profiles (last update: 2 August 2016). In the VC food chain, there are early stage investors who love to invest, at lower valuations and higher risk, in young startups that are just about to take their technology innovation from lab to fab and to the market. At the same time, many late stage VCs prefer a shorter time-to-exit and late stage startups with more than €2M revenues in 2015, strong management teams and lower technology and market risk. The result are different investment strategies and portfolios that startups should know before pitching. A positive trend is the increasing number of corporates that want to do business with startups, inspired by open innovation and corporate venturing. Let’s co-invest and accelerate the best smart green startups we know to fast growth and global impact.

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Ecosummit rocks Amsterdam on 7 July 2016 at Rockstart

This year we bring Ecosummit for the first time to Amsterdam because we like the city and believe it is a good business idea. During the last few months we worked very hard to make it happen and digged deep into the Dutch smart green innovation community. We got a lot of positive response from old and new Ecosummit friends and also sent a few one-way emails into the local internet whose inbox owners don’t value our European startup platform as much as we do – not yet. This is going to change next week when Ecosummit rocks Amsterdam on 7 July at Rockstart, the famous Dutch startup accelerator founded in 2011 by the serial entrepreneur and Yoga enthusiast Oscar Kneppers and a few of his business buddies. Since 2014, Rockstart is an Ecosummit partner that showcases their smart energy portfolio every year on stage and Ecosummit TV. In March 2016, the lottery-funded impact VC DOEN Foundation invested in Rockstart because both organisations share the same vision that entrepreneurs are able to solve the big problems of our planet, society and economy.

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Climate-KIC showcases Coolar, Prosumergy, MotionTag, Pendula and Orkess at ECO16 Berlin

Ecosummit TV: Malte Schneider presents the Climate-KIC startup showcase at ECO16 Berlin. Since 2012, Climate-KIC Germany partners with Ecosummit and, since 2013, they showcase 5 startups each year that are currently supported by the Climate-KIC Accelerator, Europe’s largest cleantech accelerator. In 2016, Coolar, Prosumergy, MotionTag, Pendula and Orkess went on stage to deliver high-quality pitches and their Ecosummit TV videos are embedded below. Over the years, Climate-KIC has become a very important smart green dealflow source for angels and early stage investors. Congrats to the Climate-KIC team for the great work they do to foster smart green startups in Europe.

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Kiwigrid, Mobisol, Kebony, Lumenaza, BEN Energy and Electrochaea win Ecosummit Award 2016 in Berlin

Ecosummit TV: Ecosummit’s mission is to accelerate smart green startups, investors and corporates with our events and Ecosummit TV. In fact, we accelerated our video production, too, and already uploaded 20 videos mixed live at ECO16 Berlin to YouTube. Last week, 250 happy participants temporarily populated the Radialsystem and enjoyed an amazing conference that was packed with lots of business and investment opportunities. In the evening of the first conference day, 26 April 2016, we announced the 6 new winners of the Ecosummit Award 2016. 58 nominees from 13 countries created public startup profiles on Ecosummit Market and were judged by 43 judges during the online voting before the conference. The 3 ECO16 Award winners in the late stage startup category (> €2M revenues 2015) are: Kiwigrid winning Gold and €1.5K prize money, Mobisol receiving Silver and €1K and Kebony scoring Bronze and €500. The 3 ECO16 Award winners in the early stage startup category (< €2M revenues 2015) are: Lumenaza winning Gold and €1.5K prize money, BEN Energy earning Silver and €1K and Electrochaea collecting Bronze and €500. Congrats to all the winners for convincing our judges that your smart green startup rocks.

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Inven Capital announces €20M investment in Tado at Ecosummit Berlin 2016

Ecosummit TV: Our smart green innovation community is making deals and sharing breaking news at Ecosummit. During their ECO16 Berlin presentation, Petr Mikovec and his Inven Capital team announce their €20M investment in Tado, one of the fastest-growing smart green startups in Germany. The Munich-based late stage startup provides climate control services to households by controlling heating and air conditioning systems. Tado was founded in 2011, pitched at Ecosummit Berlin 2012 for the first time and grew their team to 100 employees. Inven originally contacted Tado in 2015 and wanted to join the last round but it was too late. Eager to get into the deal, Inven today invests alone at a higher valuation than Tado’s last financing round of €15.2M in October 2015. The existing shareholders Siemens Venture Capital, Statkraft Ventures, Target Partners, Shortcut Ventures and BayBG did not participate again and accepted dilution. Christian Deilmann, CEO of Tado, comments: “We currently have a lot of traction growing at 400% annually in 12 European markets, USA and Singapore. Although we are well-funded thanks to our last round in autumn 2015, Inven Capital presented a great opportunity to strengthen our position in Central and Southeastern Europe and further accelerate our growth and innovation leadership. Our goal is an IPO in a couple of years.”

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Late stage startup panel featuring Grundgrün, Ludgate, Alexa Capital and Munich Venture Partners

Ecosummit TV: At ECO15 London, we did a very informative and lively panel about growing and fundraising for late stage startups. The experts on stage include Felix Grolman (Grundgrün), William Weil (Ludgate), Gerard Reid (Alexa Capital) and Martin Kröner (Munich Venture Partners). In the meantime, a lot has happened: Gerard raised $50M for Younicos from First Solar, Panasonic and Grupo ECOS. Bill left Ludgate and joined Greencoat Capital, the CVC of the Irish utility ESB. Felix sold the direct marketing business of Grundgrün to EnBW and Martin invested in Cobi while Kebony raised €19M from PMV, Investinor and existing shareholders. It turns out that fundraising for late stage startups takes a lot of time and needs to be done globally to attract the best strategic investors for the growth strategy of the startup. At the same time, late stage startups need to hire the best management team to manage their growth. In Europe, family offices and corporates increasingly play a leading role in late stage investing and helping European startups become global market leaders.

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Corporate VC panel featuring Baker Botts, Inven Capital, Siemens Venture Capital and Sonnen

Ecosummit TV: Startups need corporates and corporates need startups. At ECO15 London, Tim Lafferty (Global Corporate Venturing) moderates an exciting corporate VC panel featuring Neil Foster (Baker Botts), Petr Mikovec (Inven Capital), Michael Hochholzer (Siemens Venture Capital) and Oliver Koch (Sonnen). It is a good idea to get in touch and start building relationships with corporates in the early stage of the startup. Even if corporates tend to invest at a later stage in a syndicate with financial VCs and other corporates, the strategic alignment of interests between corporates and startups is a key success factor and needs time to be elaborated well. A corporate minority investment usually doesn’t lead to an acquisition. For example, Siemens acquires around 10% of their portfolio companies and this seems to be the industry average. The contractual relationship between startups and corporates should be designed in a smart way that guarantees the strategic and operative freedom of the startup. Every line in the term sheet is flexible if experienced entrepreneurs with good lawyers sit at the table and multiple investors are interested in participating in the startup: Rights of first refusal can be negotiated out and liquidation preferences should not be higher than 1x.

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