The Corporate Venture Capital Programme

Presiding over the ecosystem of the highest-potential Italian start-ups in the cleantech sector at all stages of development, with a flexible and efficient investment model: this is the objective of Iren UP, the innovative Corporate Venture Capital programme that supports the most promising projects throughout their growth path, from clean technologies to the circular economy.  


Corporate Venture Capital Iren UP provides a flexible approach, able to assess on a transaction-by-transaction basis the size of the investment and the collaboration to be established with the start-up. For the programme, Iren S.p.A. envisages investment tickets from 100,000 to 2 million euro, depending on the start-up’s stage of life and needs, actively involving all the company’s key functions working in teams to support individual start-ups. 

We promote innovation and sustainability in territories by supporting the best Italian start-ups in the Cleantech sector

Iren Startup Awards



StartCup Emilia-Romagna

The Iren Group is the official sponsor of the regional call



Since 2021 the Iren Group has been part of the SMAU Open Innovation Club and has realised a call4startup in the digital field dedicated to the themes of Lead Generation and Drive to Store 

Investment modalities

In cases where there is a strong industrial synergy between the start-up’s business and the Group’s business, investment agreements are negotiated directly by the parent company in synergy with the business units, to which investments are preferentially allocated according to their relevance to the individual businesses.


The formulas of the financed interventions are typical of venture capital:


  • Direct Investment in Equity
  • Equity financial instruments
  • Options
  • Convertible financing


The Iren Corporate Venture Capital programme reports directly to the Group’s top management, allowing a speed of action and continuous internal comparison in order to align investments with the Group’s growth philosophy.


Since there is no dedicated structure as in funds, there are no time constraints on disinvestment. However, the objective is to exit the companies invested in with a significant return.

Since 2022, Iren Up has partnered with CDP VC and the Milan Polytechnic Foundation to become part of the Tech4Planet Hub, the first National Technology Transfer Hub dedicated to environmental sustainability, set up on the initiative of CDP Venture Capital Sgr with the Milan, Turin and Bari Polytechnics as scientific promoters and the involvement of the PoliHub and i3P incubators.


The entry into Tech4Planet allows Iren to enhance its expertise in sectors in which it is a national leader and further strengthens the venture capital instruments the company already had. 


Through this collaboration, Iren UP will enhance the possibility of intercepting pre-seed and seed-stage start-ups from leading Italian polytechnics, increasing the capacity and speed of investment



Iren UP offers several possibilities of collaboration in addition to direct economic investment or through associated funds. Among the advantages of collaborating with a multi-utility:


Development of technological solutions

bringing them closer to the target market and scaling the business reaching a portfolio of customers.

Coordination with a structured reality

which requires procedures and certifications to carry out many of its activities: fundamental in defining the guidelines of the growing businesses of many start-ups.


Who it is aimed at

Iren UP Cleantech Venture aims to invest with minority stakes in start-ups in the Clean Technologies sector, understood in its broadest sense: Waste, Utility Networks, Mobility and Value Added Services. 


There are mainly two development phases of the companies we are interested in investing in:



Start-ups or spin-offs that have developed a technology or product even if in prototype form or have filed a patent.


Start-ups or SMEs with innovative solutions that have previously carried out a seed investment round or have already achieved a turnover of at least 1 million euro.


Enerbrain is an innovative start-up company founded in Turin in 2015 that has developed a solution for the optimised management of energy consumption in buildings. The solution consists of three elements:


  • wireless environmental sensors for monitoring comfort parameters;
  • Enerbrain cloud where all Energy Intelligence algorithms reside;
  • wireless actuators (Energy Node), which in turn dialogue with actuators in the field (three-way valves installed on distribution circuits).


The system developed by the start-up enables high levels of energy savings to be achieved through implementation algorithms on existing thermal systems


Incubated at 2i3t (an incubator of the University of Turin), i-TES is a company established in December 2016 by three partners. i-TES develops and perfects innovative heating storage systems realised through the use of phase change materials (PCM) and offers consultancy services and energy efficiency measures.


The start-up’s business model is based on three product/service lines:


  • kit including a storage tank containing PCM applicable to heating systems. Target market: civil and tertiary sector.
  • heating storage for heat pump applications and DH substations. Target market: civil, tertiary and industrial sectors.
  • customised services of energy diagnosis and implementation of energy recovery measures (waste heat) mainly for the industrial sector

Re Mat


Re Mat is an innovative start-up operating in a circular economy context: it takes back waste that is processed, transformed, put on the market and at the end of its life can be recycled again. Through an innovative and virtuous process, the service offered is the regeneration of polyurethane at the end of its life.


Re Mat will eventually be able to process all bulky upholstered waste, as well as polyurethane from the automotive industry (vehicle seats, various seats, headrests). The products generated by this transformation of waste into a resource are as follows:


  • semi-finished products for mattresses and ecological finished mattresses
  • sound-absorbing or heat-insulating panels
  • vehicle upholstery (seat parts, hat racks, engine compartment soundproofing).


Do you think your start-up could be interesting for the Iren UP programme?