Inside Enzen’s efforts to reinforce India’s multi-billion dollar sustainability canvas

Some of the most exciting innovations in the area of ​​sustainability come from startups. This may be because they are agile, have a unique perspective, and are willing to implement technology in innovative ways. And the fact that investors are increasingly investing in sustainability-focused startups is testament to the ability and experience they bring to the table.

Funding for startups focused on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) has doubled since 2020, according to research from NGP Capital, a global growth-stage investment firm, which added that SDG-relevant startups founded in 2015 or after raised $24.2 billion in venture funding last year (2021).

So it is not surprising that Based in Bengaluru Enzena company focused on sustainability, has a keen interest in startups.

The company began investing in sustainability-focused startups in 2015 when it pumped about half a million dollars into Luminous Renewable Energy Solutions, which was later renamed Wish Energy.

Since then, the 16-year-old company has invested $50 million in 10 sustainability-focused startups and has earmarked $10 million per year for investments in more such startups.

Founded by Satheesh Kumar, Enzen helps businesses, governments, non-governmental organizations and non-profit organizations go green and implement environmentally sound practices. It also helps industries explore renewable energy options, optimize their operations to reduce their carbon footprint, and find ways to reduce carbon emissions.

(Design credit: Yash Saxena, Team YourStory Design)

Enzen’s vision is to make energy and water more affordable, accessible and sustainable for all. It does this by identifying customer challenges, developing strategies to solve them so they become sustainable, and then measuring the results.

“Sustainability is a multi-million dollar canvas in India, but the demand gap, not only in India, is widening,” says Satheesh Kumar, CEO and founder of Enzen.

Explaining the gap between supply and demand, he says there are several facets of sustainability that need smarter solutions than exist, such as:

  • Technology, especially in terms of innovation.
  • Electric vehicles
  • Energy efficiency
  • Technology to help monitor and maintain existing infrastructure focused on sustainability
  • Hybrid energy, blue energy, wave energy.
  • Sustainable transport technologies

“Startups can play a critical role in these areas, especially when it comes to technological innovation,” says Satheesh.

Enzen has been actively investing in and partnering with startups providing clean energy solutions in India, Spain, Australia, the UK, the US and other countries.

In 2017, the Indian cleantech market was valued at over $25 billion, and this figure is expected to grow exponentially.

By the end of 2030, the Government of India expects to meet 40% of its total energy needs through renewable resources, up from 22% today.

(Design credit: Yash Saxena)

Taking the Partnership Approach

Enzen does not approach investments from a purely financial perspective. If Satheesh thinks a startup could be a valuable partner, he explores a win-win deal with them.

“We don’t have a formula for how we approach investments. We keep an open mind and assess how best we can add value to a vision, theirs or ours,” says Satheesh.

Enzen invests in companies at different stages of growth. It has also funded founders and startups that were still in the ideation stage.

(Design credit: Yash Saxena)

“As long as you help us achieve our vision, we’re open to any and all opportunities,” says Satheesh.

Enzen has set its sights on an initial public offering once the markets calm down and has started talks with investment bankers. With public capital, it hopes to expand its operations and finance more ventures focused on clean and green energy.

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