The Fund Bringing Energy Equity By Seeding Energy Founders

(Image: Intelis Capital)
(Image: Intelis Capital)

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Intelis Capital is on a mission to support entrepreneurs who will ensure equitable access to affordable, sustainable, reliable, and resilient energy globally. Many of tomorrow’s most iconic businesses will be built by leveraging emerging technology to solve these challenges. Intelis Capital wants to be the first-choice partner for the teams building those businesses.

Fund Snapshot

  • Stage: Pre-Seed – Series A
  • Check Size: $100K – 1.5M
  • Geography: Global
  • Lead/Follow: Lead and Follow

About the Fund

Why was the fund created?

Intelis Capital was founded in 2017 for the purpose of partnering with the best early-stage tech entrepreneurs accelerating the energy transition. Jonathan Crowder, Partner at Intelis Capital, explained that Intelis’ inception stemmed from the question of how to leverage his experience in climate policy research and climate tech startups to make a positive impact.

How does Intelis Capital think about investing in climate tech?

The energy industry is in the midst of a radical transformation. Intelis invests in technology companies that enable or accelerate one of the following trends:

  1. Proliferation of wind, solar, and storage
  2. Electrification of transport
  3. Clean energy procurement
  4. Improved grid resiliency
  5. Deployment of infrastructure
  6. Increasingly distributed industrial workforces

Jonathan summarized Intelis’ mandate: “What direction do we see a given part of the industry moving in, and what challenges will the stakeholders have to solve in order to move towards the future? First and foremost, we want to ensure we deeply understand the problem. We need to have strong conviction that it exists and close connections to customers that experience that pain point, so we can help reduce go-to-market risk for our portfolio companies.”

What type of portfolio support does Intelis Capital provide?

Intelis views investments as partnerships with founders, where founders think of Intelis as an extension of their team. Jonathan says that “whenever we are having conversations with an entrepreneur considering an investment, the guiding principle that I try to be explicit about is we want to be as helpful as they want us to be. We try to proactively anticipate the challenges they’re facing and are willing to roll up our sleeves anytime we’re needed.” 

Intelis helps startups grow their business in a number of ways:

  • Business development with their network of industry contacts
  • Recruiting talent
  • Operational improvements
  • Business strategy
  • Product road map
  • Raising capital

About Investments

What is Intelis Capital’s investment process and timeline?

Intelis prioritizes research on its core focus areas so they can approach new investment conversations with a prepared mind. They generally prefer to build long-term relationships before investing, often meeting entrepreneurs months or years beforehand, but their typical due diligence process takes 2-6 weeks.

The four guiding questions Intelis asks when looking at opportunities are: 

  • Is the market ready for this solution?
  • What’s the hardest challenge that the business is going to have to tackle?
  • Can we develop deep conviction that they can tackle that challenge?
  • Will this become a category-defining company?

In addition to reviewing pitch decks, financial forecasts, legal documents, and product roadmaps, Intelis meets with a startup’s customers to see if their feedback matches Intelis’ expectations of that market.

What would make Intelis Capital consider deviating from its typical criteria?

Intelis likely would not deviate beyond the confines of their mandate. Jonathan said that “We’re becoming more focused over time, not less. Being great partners to our portfolio companies is something we hold sacred, and building institutional knowledge in the key areas we’re most excited about is the thing that allows us to do it.”

About The Author

Daniel Kriozere

Daniel Kriozere

Co-Founder @ The Impact

Daniel currently works at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a Product Manager. Outside of his day job, he is a Principal at C3, Tech Scout at For ClimateTech, and Venture Scout at Prithvi. He also works with various climate incubators/accelerators (Cleantech Open, Techstars, and Joules Accelerator) and runs The Impact and Innovate Climate – both are newsletters covering startups in the climate space.

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