INVESTING IN DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES
SET Ventures backs pioneering founders with capital, community and insights.
Since 2007, we have built our reputation as Europe’s leading
independent energy venture capital investor.
The need for sustainable energy solutions has never been more clear. SET invests in compelling ideas to create valuable companies. That is why we focus on digital technologies for a carbon-free energy system. Our investment thesis revolves around three fundamental beliefs:
Fossil fuel combustion for energy accounts for 73% of global GHG emissions. Business as usual is not an option. No one can continue to rely on fossil inputs with impunity as their stakeholders demand accountability for a pathway to net zero. Navigating this tidal wave of change is the biggest challenge of our generation, yet we are optimistic that entrepreneurs and investors working as partners can succeed to create solutions with lasting value and impact.
As long-time investors in this sector, we have learned that technology is rarely the bottleneck. Yes, there is a need for more cutting-edge research. But even more important are visionary products and services that spark the adoption curve of mass deployment in a distributed system. Winners are set apart by the way they challenge conventional wisdom, craft delightful solutions, and scale at breakneck speed.
It is a misconception that clean energy will be a one-for-one replacement of cheap fossil fuel by expensive renewables. This lineair approach ignores the near-zero margin cost of renewable energy and the vast opportunities for dynamic optimisation at all levels of the system. In a world of clean energy abundance, the value accrues at the digital layer that balances, orchestrates and leverages the physical infrastructure.
Energy is everywhere and everything is connected. Not just at a technical level, but more broadly in a future energy system that rewards all participants to balance what you give and what you get in a fair way. We exist to support the leaders of tomorrow with capital, community and insights to reach their ambition. For our society and our planet.
WHAT WE INVEST IN
We focus on innovation leaders that are transforming the energy system and pioneering the future of energy in distributed infrastructure, digital utilities, buildings, mobility and industry as well as relevant enabling technologies. We look for fast growing companies with strong digital DNA seeking (late) seed and Series A funding that can demonstrate market traction.
At what stages do you invest?
We are an investor with a strong focus on accelerating early growth. Typically, that would be a Series A round, but since not everyone has the same definition, we allow ourselves some flexibility towards late seed or a company that has already progressed further along that trajectory. We like to call that Series A (+/-).
How much do you invest?
We usually invest €2 to 4 million in rounds that range from €3 to 10 million. We reserve substantial follow-on capital to follow the winners and can deploy up to €15 million in a single portfolio company.
What does a typical investment round look like?
We like to lead or co-lead investment rounds. We can bring together a syndicate of like minded investors or can work together with relevant parties that you have identified. We like to be represented in a board and ensure the balance between investors and founders through an independent chairman with strong industry expertise.
What industries do you invest?
Energy is everywhere: the energy transition breaks down barriers and cuts across all sectors. We invest in digital technologies that advance us towards a carbon neutral energy system. Check out this page to find out more.
What countries do you invest in?
We invest across all of Europe, with a concentration in North West (Netherlands, UK, DACH) as the region where we have seen the most digital energy innovations.
What do you want to see before you invest?
The honest answer is: it depends on your business. In a software company defined by ability to execute and momentum, we need to see product market fit and evidence of healthy sales economics. But we have also invested in companies with strong intellectual property with nothing more than a prototype backed by awesome customer demand.
How can you help me become succesful?
We guide portfolio companies on their journey through our expertise and a strong community. We can help you tap into first class support in areas like business development, hiring and operational expertise. What is important: they are as passionate about the road to a carbon free future as we are!
Why are you different?
We didn’t jump on climatetech as the latest trend only yesterday. Since 2007, we have been building our reputation as Europe’s leading independent energy venture capital investor. We understand this industry and bring our own experience of success and failures. We have the convinction and patience to be a trusted partner for determined entrepreneurs.
What does the process look like?
Please send your pitch deck to us here. We’ll try to respond within a few days whether we are the right investors for your company. Once we engage, we will schedule a series of meetings over the course of a few weeks to reach an initial conclusion and map out the full process that includes due diligence and legals.
Do you sign an NDA?
Regardless of the paperwork, we are committed to respecting the confidentiality of the information you share with us. If you insist on executing a Non-Disclosure Agreement, we are willing to do so after we have established there is a realistic chance of us working together. That means you will have to share enough to get us excited!
To avoid undue legal reviews, we will only sign the SET standard NDA which is based on terms commonly accepted in the industry.
What do you look for in a founder?
You have a deep drive and intrinsinc motivation to be an enterpreneur as well as a growth mindset that supports personal growth. We look for people that have demonstrated achievement and perseverence in business or other pursuits. As a leader, you are committed to building strong teams and to help others succeed.
What is your commitment to achieving real impact?
Our mission is to advance a carbon-free energy system by backing pioneering founders with capital, community & insights to generate outsized financial and impact returns for limited partners and the planet. SET has made a commitment to transparent impact reporting to make this measurable.
Furthermore, the principals of SET Ventures have agreed to link their compensation to the achievement of impact outcomes, in close partnership with European Investment Fund.
Why did you reject me?
That’s an unavoidable part of our job. We invest in less than 1% of the teams that we talk to. We have a narrow investment focus that allows us to be experts in what we do, but it means we pass on many interesting companies that fall outside. Plus, we also may be wrong in many cases. When we decline to participate, we try to give you as much insight in our thinking as we can. If you liked talking to us, please keep us updated on your progress.
RECENT NEWS FROM SET
NEW ETPA CEO SEES ENERGY TRADING AS THE EPICENTRE TO THE ENERGY TRANSITION
Etpa has appointed Michiel Lensink as its new CEO. Michiel’s skillset combines expert knowledge in the cleantech space with the experience of an accomplished CEO. Michiel has operated in a CEO role for over 13 years across three different companies. Each time scaling their operations to 100s of employees and raising millions of Euros in fundraising. Most recently as CEO & co-founder of Frits.com, an online mortgage platform that challenged traditional mortgage brokers. There he championed customer interest by challenging how the banks calculated customer fees. This resulted in new legislation from financial authorities and catapulted the company’s growth. Now at Etpa, Michiel plans an ambitious course for the company. He will steer Etpa towards a strategy that leverages their state-of-the-art technology. Bringing unparalleled processing speeds, improved ease of access to an energy trading platform and lower cash requirements for settlements. Etpa are on track to formally launch their Intraday […]
MINIBEMS MERGES WITH EVINOX
Heat network technology providers Evinox and Minibems are merging and receive growth capital from SET Ventures. This capital injection enables the two companies to cement their leading position in smart heat network technology ensuring enhanced energy efficiency and cost savings for heat network operators and residents. Heat networks, also known as district heating systems, supply heat to one or multiple buildings from a central source, such as a boiler or heat pump. These systems are becoming increasingly popular to decarbonise heat, however, they can be inefficient and costly to operate. Evinox provides a full range of equipment and services to heat network operators. The company has pioneered remotely connected heat interface units (HIU) designed for easy installation, operation and maintenance. Evinox has supplied over 15.000 units for projects across the UK, including prestigious developments such as Battersea Power Station, London City Island and Riverlight. Minibems has developed advanced control technology […]
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