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24th February, 2020

Get the latest insights from the sustainable energy transition space
Brought to you by Contrarian Ventures

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Dear Friends, Colleagues and Partners,

Welcome to Contrarian Ventures inaugural newsletter! We’ve called it Bye Fossil Fuels (BFF) for a reason – we believe that the world needs a massive mobilisation of technology and smart capital to decarbonise the grid and electrify the sectors that are the largest polluters of our planet. Whilst we agree that this is a monumental challenge, we also believe that the ecosystem of energy technology and electric mobility start-ups will be able to tackle this transformation and bring forward the change. There is so much untapped talent in Europe that is looking to enter this challenging space and we, at Contrarian Ventures, want to unlock it.

We’ve set out to launch this monthly newsletter focusing on energy transition and electric mobility sectors to bring our subscribers proprietary insights, analysis and the latest news. We will also use this opportunity to tell you more about what we are up to and how are we doing in our journey of trying to change the way the world consumes energy.

Please subscribe, share and drop us an email if you want to talk anything related to energy and sustainability. We are always keen to partner with ecosystem players so please share any ideas you have. See you soon!


For our inaugural newsletter we want to present our proprietary matrix of the charging operators, equipment manufacturers and technology companies, as well as, how they are positioned relative to one another.  We can note that there is a clear distinction between traditional players, strategics, and pure-play startups, with traditional integrated electronic solutions providers and automotive OEMs focusing more on the development of hardware, utilities working with integrating solutions on both hardware and software, while pure-play startups are innovating across all the segments. Another observation is that fully integrated solution space is the most crowded among pure-play companies, most likely due to the fact that they have an advantage of developing their own equipment to enable the software solutions they provide.
There is a global acceleration in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). According to BNEF, the number of EVs on the road have reached 5 million at the end of 2019 and were serviced by more than 632k public charging points (CPs). If we take the EIA‘s estimates that 30% of vehicles on the roads will be electric in the next 10 years, we are looking at a required infrastructure scale of 30m charging points (that is a fifty-fold increase). There were an estimated $17 billion in capital raised over 240 funding rounds in the EV space over the last year alone.

EV sales are growing quickly, yet they still only account for a small fraction of the cars on the road. What is clear is that continued growth in EV sales depends on the deployment of sufficient charging infrastructure. Various predictions ballpark that the charging infrastructure market will grow from $8 billion globally in 2019 to $20 billion by 2025.

Perhaps realising that the lack of EV infrastructure today will impede their ability to sell EVs tomorrow, a number of major automotive companies have announced plans to heavily invest in charging infrastructure.

If we look at the M&A and financing landscape, out of 32 acquisitions in the EV infrastructure space during the past decade, 26 were made by strategics. Oil and gas companies, such as BP and Shell are increasingly the most active in this space, acquiring CPOs and vertically integrated companies, growing their position in the energy transition.

The strategics are leveraging M&A to improve their EV charging market share, be it new energy business for oil and gas players or current service expansion for utilities. The acquired companies strengthen the existing EV charging services and provide access to larger geographical coverage, including new markets. Such financing rounds and acquisitions signal a change in the approach of strategics, where the business models increasingly involve functionality like frequency and demand response, and even energy storage 1 2 3.

Furthermore, we see that smart charging and vehicle-to-grid functionality are continuing to crop up more and more, and are becoming core offering, rather than a nice to have. We see that companies will have to leverage these key technologies to engage with utilities, aggregators and grid operators, and offer them a way to manage the unpredictability of incoming scale in EVs and distributed renewable energy.
To the end of visualising the activity in this space, we went through the exercise of putting together a matrix of EV charging companies, the differences in their scope and purpose, as well as the noteworthy technology players in this space to track, with a focus on integrated solutions.

Let us know your thoughts on the matter and let‘s talk #SustainableEnergyTransition!

 Apply For New Energy Challenger Prize


At Contrarian Ventures we are focused at recognizing and building a more inclusive community of entrepreneurs working towards sustainable energy transition. Thus, we have partnered with Plug n Play Europe to launch the New Energy Challengers competition with a goal to identify and bring the world’s top energy, transport, and sustainability startups together on one stage @ Energy Tech Summit 2020. Startups will compete for an equity-free money prize and the attention of global media as well as 75+ VCs and CVCs.

Companies compete in six main tracks contributing to the sustainable energy transition – Batteries, Hydrogen, E-mobility, Digitalization, Automation & AI, FutureGrid.

Join for a "winner takes it all" opportunity 🥇🏆 APPLY HERE

HurryIconLatest Portfolio Addition

We are thrilled about our latest investment into Israel-based H2Pro, Ltd. The company has developed an innovative, clean, inexpensive, and safe hydrogen production technology  which produces 30% more hydrogen compared to the traditional electrolysis and reaches 95% efficiency. Enabling clean hydrogen production at a wide-scale represents a paradigm shift to a cleaner and more sustainable fuel source for transportation and industrial sectors. In order to make hydrogen a mainstream fuel, we need to produce renewable hydrogen in large quantities, and H2Pro is about to do just that.

Learn more about our thesis on H2Pro in our Medium post! 

SunIconContrarian Ventures Reading List

North American Oil Company Bankruptcies Jump In 2019

⚰️ The number of oil and gas company bankruptcies in the United States and Canada rose 50% in 2019 over the previous year, and is likely to increase as a slide in energy prices continues to shake producers.

The $900bn cost of ‘stranded energy assets’

🛢️ Climate targets may force energy groups to leave huge reserves of coal, oil and gas in the ground.

Coronavirus may be the straw that breaks the back of oil fracking

💸  A massive drop in Chinese use of oil has made prices largely unprofitable for fracking.

Hurry-IconBig Moves in the Market

EDF acquires majority stake in Pod Point

🔌  EDF together with Legal & General acquires Pod Point bringing together EDF’s energy solutions and Pod Point’s 62,000 chargers in the UK.

Scooter startup BIRD acquired Germany's Circ, raises $75 million

🛴  Bird, Santa Monica based mobility start-up, acquires Circ, its German rival.

Gridbeyond secures 9 million investment

⚡  Energy tech firm GridBeyond attracts £9m from EDP, ESB, Act Venture Capital and Total.

teaIconLet's Meet!

25-28 February, Berlin
13-19 March, Austin
28-29 March, Trolleholm Castle

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