Engie launches venture arm to help Asia-Pacific energy startups

The Business Times by LYNETTE TAN
Singapore FRENCH energy giant Engie has launched a strategic venture arm eyeing energy startups in the Asia-Pacific, and aims to provide them with access to industry expertise and funding.

Engie Factory Asia-Pacific, as it has been named, said it is unable to reveal the size of its kitty for investing in startups; it simply said that Engie New Ventures, the company's venture capital arm, will provide "crucial funding" for startups to "scale quickly and effectively".

Meanwhile, Engie Factory aims to help startups develop practical solutions, test-bed these solutions in actual projects and build their track record.

The venture arm will focus on areas such as green mobility, smart cities, energy efficiency and renewable energy, said its website.

In green mobility, for example, it is working with startups on alternative fuels, transport infrastructure, smart transit systems, electric mobility and upstream design and planning.

Located at Golden-Agri Plaza along Pasir Panjang Road, where Engie's Asia-Pacific headquarters also has its office, Engie Factory will also offer a co-working space for startups and "like-minded people" to work on concepts and products with the support of Engie's experts and executives.

Although it is based in Singapore, Engie Factory said its activities span the Asia-Pacific and enable startups to collaborate with Engie teams in South-east Asia and Australia as well.

On Thursday, the company's managing director and head of its venture arm Quentin Vaquette said more than 80 startups responded to Engie's recent call for startups to collaborate with Engie Factory.

"With our build-scale-invest approach, we're looking at helping great startups and founders across the Asia-Pacific make a meaningful impact and together, solve real issues that matter in the energy and smart-city ecosystem," he said.

Engie's Asia-Pacific chief, Paul Maguire, said it was a natural decision to base the venture arm in Singapore, since "Singapore is helping to transform the global energy sector and is home to a thriving startup scene".

The firm added that Enterprise Singapore has been a key partner in the setting up of Engie Factory.

"With Enterprise Singapore's support, we were able to understand the startup landscape, and get connected to various startups, SMEs and ecosystem enablers," said Mr Vaquette.

Engie Factory said it will work closely with Enterprise Singapore to "reach out to local and regional startups, explore co-financing deal flow, and catalyse industry engagements through community events".