Innovators and investors will converge in Sydney today for the first Clean Energy Innovators Demo Day
Innovators and investors will converge in Sydney today for the first Clean Energy Innovators Demo Day. Image Credit: University of Salford Press Office

Ten of Australia’s most innovative clean technology companies will make their pitches to potential investors today at Australia’s first ‘Clean Energy Innovators Demo Day’ in Sydney.

With up to $88 million of investment up for grabs, the event hosted by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is set to accelerate investment in clean energy innovations developed by Australian researchers and start-ups.

The event will be hosted by the CEFC’s Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF), and will provide a forum for the ten companies to demonstrate the clean energy technologies they have developed and pitch to potential investors.

“The focus in 2017 seems to be ‘behind the meter’ – rooftop solar generation, and localised demand response, grid control and battery storage solutions,” Blair Pritchard, Investment Development Director at the CEFC said.

“Energy efficiency is also a theme, which is not surprising given concern about energy prices.”

Overwhelming interest

The CEFC was pleased with the level of interest shown amongst investors wanting to attend the demo day. With approximately 50 investors in attendance, interest was so high that some potential investors could not be included in the first round of technology demonstrations.

“The response to the Innovators Demo Day has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s a clear sign of the strong potential of the innovative clean energy sector, both entrepreneurs and investors. Not everyone who wanted to attend could be accommodated at this time. We’re already looking to organise follow-up sessions.” Mr Pritchard said.

The CEFC currently administers the $1 Billion Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF), established to provide targeted investment in companies at early stages of the technology demonstration and commercialisation stage.

In hosting the Clean Energy Innovators Demo Day, the CEFC is hoping to be able to support companies receiving early-stage investment from the private sector.

“The Innovators Demo Day is one way of helping innovative companies take that next big step to accelerate growth,” Mr Pritchard said.

“These discussions will help the Innovation Fund extend our investment pipeline. The CEFC’s main role here has been to act as a catalyst, bringing the innovators and the investors together and allowing both groups to assess one another. We are enormously encouraged by the response.”

Investors seeking opportunities in future energy market

The CEFC attributed the high level of interest amongst investors to recognition that the energy sector is undergoing a significant level of disruption as new technologies enter the market, a situation that investors recognise as an opportunity to gain exposure to an evolving energy market.

CEFC also cited more altruistic motives for investors to become involved in the demo day, with investors seeking opportunities to invest in technologies that will limit the energy sector’s impact on the environment.

“Many are deeply concerned about recent trends in the environment and feel they have a mission to help find and implement solutions.” Mr Pritchard said.

The CEIF date made investments totalling $25 million to date across three projects to date.

The fund made a $5 million investment in GreenSync, to support the acceleration of design and commercialisation of the company’s innovative smart grid management software.

The CEIF invested $10 million in Carbon Revolution, which has commenced the manufacture of carbon-fibre car wheels, that improve the fuel efficiency of vehicles through significant weight reductions.

The CEIF also contributed $10 million towards the establishment of the Clean Energy Seed Fund, in partnership with Artesian Venture Partners, to provide targeted investment in early-stage clean energy innovations and start-ups.

The CEIF is administered as a partnership between the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which has a strong focus on supporting research, development and demonstration of renewable energy technologies and the CEFC.

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