Blue Bear Capital has raised a new $150 million fund that will be used to find and invest in startups developing technology aimed at speeding up the adoption and industrialization of renewable energy.
This is the venture firm's second fund, which it says is oversubscribed. Blue Bear has already backed nine new companies since 2020. The firm said the fresh cash will be used to fund digital technologies "making an outsized impact" in markets, including wind, solar, the electric grid, EV infrastructure, transportation and energy-intensive industries.
“Trillions of dollars will be spent to scale renewable energy, modernize infrastructure and secure sustainable supply chains,” Blue Bear partner Ernst Sack said in a statement. “Meanwhile, artificial intelligence is redefining how data is captured, decisions are made and relationships are built all around us. Where these two forces converge — applying the power of AI-enabled technologies to the immense challenges of the energy transition — is where Blue Bear sees the greatest investment and impact opportunity of our lifetimes.”
Blue Bear has a two-fold investment strategy. The firm's investors look for those that "nail a vertical," which is code for startups that have developed software-as-a-service solutions that help industries address operational bottlenecks and handle niche use cases. Blue Bear also looks for startups that have developed software that can scale horizontally across many markets.
The portfolio companies in Blue Bear's "nail a vertical" bucket include FreeWire Technologies, which developed a suite of mobile EV charging products, and Omnidian, a distributed solar asset management company. Horizontal-scale companies that BlueBear has backed include Urbint, which is focused on infrastructure safety, and Demex, a climate and weather risk management company.
As with Blue Bear's first fund, this one is aimed at helping early-stage companies scale — and not just by investing capital. The VC touts the expertise of its partners, who have decades of experience in sustainable investments and hands-on work in climate, policy, corporate venture, cloud computing and other related technologies.
“As specialists we believe in a high conviction and relatively concentrated approach to portfolio construction,” said Blue Bear partner Vaughn Blake in a statement, adding that the firm selects companies with long-term partnership in mind. Blake also said the firm avoids the high-volume approach to venture, where a handful of companies are expected to make up a fund's returns while the bulk are left to fall away.”
Investors in Blue Bear's fund include AIMS Imprint of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the McKnight Foundation, as well as leadership from other private equity firms and energy companies. Advisory Board members include First Reserve President Alex Krueger, former NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and former BP Chairman and CEO Lord John Browne.