“We've managed to reduce the risk and increase the efficiency of innovation”

In order to accelerate energy transition, Galp is set to invest up to 20 million euros in the Energy Impact Partners platform, an innovation ecosystem geared to the promotion of partnerships between large companies and scale-ups. The founder, Hans Kobler, explained the main advantages of belonging to this “club of innovators” to Energiser

Founded by the German Hans Kobler and based in the USA, Energy Impact Partners (EIP) has more than USD 1.5 billion in assets under management, and invests on a global basis in venture capital, growth, structured credit and infrastructure. Galp is one of the most recent partners and plans to invest up to 20 million euros over the next five years, thereby underlining its commitment to the development of a sustainable renewable energy production portfolio through new business opportunities, while working with the best scale-ups in the world.

Founded in 2015, the aim of this innovation ecosystem, in the words of its founder, is to “make money and to contribute and make a difference in a 'cleaner' and better future", while introducing high-tech companies and businesses to major players in different sectors with a view to finding perfect innovation matches. “We want to provide our partners with high strategic value, to be their eyes and ears, giving them insight with regard to the opportunities and threats of all these emerging technologies”, explains Hans Kobler in an interview with Energiser.

As far as the founder and managing partner of EIP is concerned, only the joint work of all the different partners will enable us to obtain good results. “The more successful we are, connecting our partners to the most appropriate technologies for their businesses, finding the innovators who can make a difference, and helping them to grow, the greater the positive impact on the environment and the better the results will be”, he stresses.

After four years of activity, Hans Kobler is extremely pleased with the project. The best indicator of success, he says, is the fact that many investors come back to invest in different projects. “Success stories are on the rise”, he emphasises. The EIP team conducts constant checks to ensure partners are finding the scale-ups best suited to their business and carries out the necessary monitoring activity for investors and innovators to meet up. “The goal is to find the best technology companies in the world, in the sectors that interest us, and to boost collaboration with our partners”, explains Hans Kobler. At the same time, he adds, “we are helping innovators to grow”.

Now that Galp has joined the EIP network, Hans Kobler hopes to be able to open the doors of the Iberian Peninsula and Brazil to the other partners. “Galp has good ideas with regard to mobility, an area in which it is developing excellent products and services, in addition to renewable energy with wind and solar power, and we can learn from all this. At the same time, we can implement amazing technologies from other parts of the world”, he declares.

For the time being, the Portuguese company will be the only Iberian operator in the energy sector with full access to the EIP ecosystem. “We believe we have managed to be an asset for our partners, reducing investment risk and increasing the efficiency of innovation”, he says.

Among the areas he regards as most relevant in the energy sector, Hans Kobler highlights technologies such as artificial intelligence, new software models, clean energies and energy transition, smart buildings and cities, mobility and electrification and cybersecurity. “We have around 50 sub-sectors that we monitor in order to identify the best scale-ups, products and services that help to accelerate our partners' business”, illustrates the head of EIP.

As a means of finding scale-ups with the most interesting projects, the screening approach and methodology implemented at EIP is a little like that of a 'Shark Tank'. As Hans Kobler explains, after researching the market and pre-screening the best projects, the platform's analysts and experts bring together a group of companies representing a series of promising technologies in a room, where they are invited to present their ideas and to discuss topics such as hydrogen, mobility, shipments and cybersecurity. A few dozen are then scrutinised and the most promising are selected. “We use the group's know-how to analyse the projects and in the process end up receiving several references from partners already involved in pilot projects with some of these scale-ups”. Basically, concludes Hans Kobler, “what we are doing is leading the way in the field of innovation”.