France-based TotalEnergies is to sell its entire portfolio of climate-related technology start-ups to Aster, a venture capitalist firm based in Paris.
The move is part of the company’s decision to wind down TotalEnergies Ventures, its corporate venture capitalist (CVC) arm that was founded in 2008. It has some 18 companies in its portfolio, including Onto, a subscription service for EVs; Tado, which specialises in smart meters; and Sunfire, a provider of electrolysers for hydrogen production. These holdings will be merged with Asters own portfolio of about 100 companies that it has invested in since 2000, which include the US unicorn Docker and Zola, a provider of solar power.
The move bucks the current trend among large oil and gas companies, which have tended to increase their investment in climate-related technology startups. This may be because later-stage startups have become increasingly popular with investors in general, thereby increasing the competition in funding rounds. Speaking to media site Sifted, Jean-Marc Bally, a managing partner at Aster, declined to comment on TotalEnergies’ rationale for selling the investments, but he did say:
“The lifetime of CVC is always limited. It’s part of the evolving strategy of corporations.”
Much of the CVC team will be transferred to the more recent ‘TotalEnergies On’ programme, which seeks to support startups involved in electricity-related solutions at an earlier stage.
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