IREN UP – Cleantech Venture

IREN UP is the innovative Corporate Venture Capital programme that supports Italian start-ups with the highest potential in the cleantech sector, throughout their development, from clean technology to the circular economy. In addition to financial resources, both for the start-up phases of companies and for the expansion and scale-up phase, IREN provides a brand new package of customised services that may include testing, technical support, legal advice, market testing and commercial and industrial agreements. 

IREN envisages investments in the programme of about € 20 million up to 2021, with investment tickets from € 100,000 to € 2 million, depending on the stage of development of the start-up and its needs. The programme actively involves all key departments of the company, working in teams to support the individual start-ups.


TARGET

IRENUP is a Cleantech Venture, its purpose is therefore to invest, with minority stakes, in start-ups in the Clean technologies sector, in its broadest possible meaning, covering the following areas:
  • Energy 
  • Water 
  • Waste 
  • Public utility networks 
  • Mobility 
  • Value-added services.

The development phase of the companies we decide to invest in divides into two sub-phases:

SEED:
  • start-ups or spin-offs that have developed a technology or product even if in prototype form, or which have filed a patent
 
GROWTH:
  • start-ups or SMEs with innovative solutions that have previously carried out a seed investment or have already achieved a turnover of at least € 1 million.

CALL

IREN STARTUP AWARD

Offered in collaboration with "Intesa Sanpaolo Start-up Initiative" , this is a competition for start-ups, aimed at young European companies that have developed innovative solutions in the fields of energy, environment, mobility and the water cycle.

LCI – Liguria Crea Impresa

Call for ideas conceived and organized by Wylab, focused on stimulating entrepreneurship in the Liguria region.

Method of investment
Investment agreements are negotiated directly by the parent company in synergy with the business units, to which equity investments are allocated on the basis of their relevance to the individual businesses. The formulas of the funding operations are typical of venture capital:
  • Direct investment in Equity
  • Participatory financial instruments
  • Options
  • Convertible loans

 
Iren's Corporate Venture Capital programme entails minority investments only, and therefore focuses on both open innovation and a financial return on investment.
Not having a dedicated structure, as happens with funds, there are no time constraints of disinvestment, but the objective is to leave the companies invested in with a significant economic return.
The programme reports straight back to the Group's top management, allowing rapid action and continual internal discussion so as to align investments with the Group's expansion philosophy.

Why IREN UP
Not having a purely financial background, Iren's CVC offers several advantages:
 
  • Possibility of creating PoCs
  • Access to European funding through partnership agreements
  • Financial investment 
  • Access to the distribution and management capabilities of Iren S.p.A.
  • Co-branding operations

 
Collaborating with a multi-utility can help to develop technological solutions, bringing them closer to the end market, to correctly scale the business and reach a portfolio of customers. It also offers the advantage of interfacing with a structured reality that requires procedures and certifications for carrying out many of its activities. These aspects are fundamental when defining the guidelines of growing business for many start-ups.

How to apply

Do you think your start-up might be of interest to the IRENUP program?

Send your application to innovazione@gruppoiren.it.

Portfolio

Enerbrain is an innovative start-up founded in Turin in 2015 that has developed a solution to optimise energy consumption in buildings.

The solution is composed of three elements:

  • wireless environmental sensors to monitor comfort parameters (temperature, humidity, CO2, etc.)
  • Cloud Enerbrain, comprising all of the energy-intelligence algorithms
  • wireless actuators (energy nodes) that communicate with actuators in the field (three-way valves installed on distribution circuits).

The system created by the start-up allows high levels of energy savings using algorithms for use with existing thermal systems.

ENERBRAIN

i-TES is a project incubated at 2i3t (University of Turin incubator).

Established in December 2016 by three partners, it is has been listed in the register of innovative start-ups since March 2017.

i-TES develops and improves innovative thermal storage systems using phase-change materials (PCM) and offers consulting and energy-efficiency services.

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

  • kit composed of a storage tank containing PCM that can be installed on thermal systems. Target market: civil and tertiary sector.
  • thermal storage that can be installed on heat-pumps and DH substations. Target market: civil, tertiary and industrial sector.
  • customised energy diagnosis services and waste-heat recovery, primarily in the industrial sector.

i-Tes 

 

Ride is a shared, multi-vehicle electric mobility service made entirely in Italy that aims to launch an electric-vehicle sharing service powered by removable batteries.

The removable battery, which is the size of a common power bank, is at the heart of the business, and will be capable of powering multiple vehicles.

Combined with the business model, this innovative technological approach offers the following benefits:

  • Focus on small and medium-sized municipalities with less competition as a barrier to entry, alongside use of Askoll vehicles in certain municipalities
  • Broad target market 
  • Easily promoted via marketing strategies.

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