Globes: UK energy co Centrica to invest $100m in Israeli startups
Centrica’s first investment has been to lead the $12 million financing round in Israeli electric vehicle charging point monitoring company Driivz.
Hear from Centrica Labs on their approach to accessing Israeli innovation in a panel discussion at Innovate Israel 2018
UK energy company Centrica is set to invest an estimated $100 million in Israeli startups this year, sources inform “Globes.”
The first company, which has already received an investment, is Driivz. Centrica led the company’s $12 million first financing round, with participation in equal shares from UK investment fund Ombu Group. Driivz has developed a data system for managing electric vehicle charging systems that enables the companies operating the charging points to monitor customers’ use and charge them accordingly. 200,000 drivers worldwide currently use the system.
Centrica’s investment in Driivz was made through an investment fund founded by Centrica a year ago; this fund will also be used for subsequent investments. The fund’s budget is $140 million, mostly designated for Israel. Centrica investment director Idan Mor told “Globes” that the company was about to close a large financing round of another Israeli startup in the field of cybersecurity for industrial infrastructure and would invest in a third startup later this year. Centrica is also considering investment in yet another startup. The names of these additional startups have not been disclosed.
Centrica is an energy services holding company for major energy supply companies in the UK, the US, and other countries. Centrica, which owns British Gas and US company Direct Energy, currently has 28 million customers worldwide and 33,000 employees; its revenue totaled $37 billion in 2017. In 2015, Centrica acquired Israeli company Panoramic Power for $60 million. Panoramic Power became Centrica’s development center in Israel. Panoramic Power CEO Yaniv Vardi joined Centrica’s global management and is currently its marketing manager for Europe (excluding the UK) and head of its business solutions division in Mexico.
Mor says that Centrica is in the final stages of competitive negotiations with international energy companies to set up a consortium to support Driivz’s technology and promote it in US and East Asian markets. “We took the first financial lead in order to generate financial attractiveness and the company is ready for investment by global investors. We’re not so interested in maximum control of the company; we want global players with access to the various markets, including Japan and the US. I already have overbooking for investments and have the luxury of choosing the more strategic investments.”
Centrica has also begun integrating Driivz’s technology in the service platform that it offers its customers throughout the world and has also added the technology to its bid in UK energy tenders.