Infuse to invest Rs 3.3 cr in Ecolibrium Energy

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on May 27, 2013 Published on May 27, 2013

To invest in seed and early-stage cleantech enterprises

Infuse Capital, India’s first sustainable energy and cleantech early-stage venture capital fund, on Monday announced its first investment of around $0.6 million (nearly Rs 3.30 crore) in Ecolibrium Energy, an Ahmedabad-based smart-grid and energy management company.

Infuse has been set up by IIM Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) and is backed by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), BP, World Bank member IFC, and Technology Development Board.

Infuse, which also recently announced the initial closing, will invest in and handhold India-based seed and early-stage cleantech enterprises across renewables, resource efficiency, waste and water.

Ecolibrium has raised a total of $1.6 million in this financing round from Infuse Capital and IFC, who invested through its recently created Cleantech Innovation Facility. The company was founded by brothers Chintan Soni and Harit Soni and was incubated at CIIE, in partnership with MNRE through the Renewable Energy Search initiative.

Technology platform

Ecolibrium has developed a technology platform that helps commercial, institutional and industrial organisations produce, monitor and use energy more intelligently, and make cost savings. Ecolibrium has several paying customers and operational pilots across the country. Its customers include MNRE, Torrent Power, Fiat and Mitsui. It made its presence felt within a year of operations by providing attractive ROI for its customers.

The current round of funding will be used to strengthen our offerings in energy optimisation, renewable integration, smart micro grids and demand response space, said Chintan Soni, Founder and CEO, Ecolibrium Energy.

An emerging sector

Cleantech is an emerging sector in India. Very few funds are actively investing in this space, especially at the critical early stage. Infuse was created to bridge this financing gap and will invest up to Rs 5-10 crore/venture to support commercialisation and scale-up. Infuse also has a seed programme under which it would work with entrepreneurs-in-residence to co-create and seed viable capital-efficient ventures across renewables, distributed generation, energy efficiency, transportation, waste management, sustainable agriculture and water sectors.

“We believe that India requires frugal technology and business model innovations to overcome the energy security, access and climate change issues. Start-ups such as Ecolibrium, who are building low-cost and commercially viable solutions, are ideal for optimising the growing energy needs of the industry,” said Prof Rakesh Basant, Chairperson, CIIE. “We think active mentoring and handholding is critical for success of early stage ventures and through Infuse, CIIE will continue to actively work with Ecolibrium in helping them increase their outreach.”

IFC’s co-investment in Ecolibrium is a validation of CIIE’s incubation model. Over the last few weeks, several of CIIE-supported ventures across sectors have received external funding and validation. CIIE incubatees iStar and Biosense recently raised funds from Unitus and Insitor, respectively, while Barrix Agro, a winner at Power of Ideas initiative, won the best social start-up award at the recently held Sankalp Forum. In the IT sector, Ventureast funded CIIE-supported Smartrx, while Tookitaki raised commitment at Nasscom’s 10,000 start-ups initiative.

Published on May 27, 2013
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