Centrica created the $10m ‘Ignite Fund’ in 2014, which invested in energy related social enterprises that deliver both commercial and social outcomes. Focused on the UK, the fund aims to support new innovations to create longer-term solutions to national energy challenges.

As of 2017, Ignite became part of then newly launched Centrica Innovations which expanded the focus of Centrica’s venturing activity to wider EMEA and the US.

Venturing Activity

1. CI Ventures

  • Aims to invest up to £100m over the next five years in start-ups developing innovative technologies for smart homes, energy supply and distributed power
  • Key “scout hubs” in Seattle, Houston, London, Cambridge and Tel Aviv

2. CI Labs

  • Provides investments with seed stage founders
  • Incubates and accelerates ideas both externally and within Centrica
  • Continues to work with the portfolio of investees from the Ignite social impact investment fund (17 companies)

Venturing Strategy

Portfolio Companies & Deals

Ignite Fund

 Homes Limited Social enterprise that designs, manufactures and installs high quality, affordable modular homes at large volumes for the social housing market.

bio-bean Established in 2013, bio-bean are the first company in the world to have industrialised the process of recycling waste coffee grounds into advanced, cost-effective and locally sourced biofuels.

Grid-Edge Developer of cloud-based energy management software which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to forecast the building’s energy requirements over a four-hour period to optimise its consumption. The system can help reduce energy use in buildings by up to 25 per cent, helping to lower carbon emissions and energy bills while also improving system resilience. (£200k investment)

Driivz An Israeli start-up that offers end-to-end software solutions for electric vehicle (EV) charging. Established in 2012, Driivz has developed a cloud-based EV charging operating system that is already used by over 200,000 drivers across the globe.

CI Ventures

EtaGen A California-based start-up developing a Linear Generator that offers businesses affordable and flexible onsite power that’s also reliable and clean. Based on research pioneered by its founders at Stanford University, the company has developed a novel and highly efficient gas generator that has a lower emissions profile than conventional power generation. It also has greater flexibility and is more cost effective than competing clean technologies.

Hello Alfred The first in-home service platform for busy urbanites that takes care of their household chores and services. This New York-based startup combines intuitive technology with amazing people to make extra help in the home an affordable luxury, while changing how people shop for everyday products.

Indegy A leader in industrial cyber security, Indegy specialises in technology that gives businesses visibility and control over their industrial control systems to protect against cyber threats, malicious insiders and human error.

LO3 Energy An innovative start-up based in New York specialising in blockchain-based solutions for energy transactions and microgrids. LO3 is working to commercialise a new platform to enable peer-to-peer energy marketplaces, which we believe offer an opportunity to provide our customers with more flexibility and control over how they buy and use their energy.

The Team

Charles Cameron, Director, Centrica Innovations. Prior to joining Centrica, Cameron was head of technology, downstream at BP plc and was a member of the downstream executive team. He previously spent 23 years with the French Institute of Petroleum and holds a PHD in chemistry from Purdue University, Indiana, a Post-doctoral associate of Queen’s University, Canada, and is a National Science Foundation exchange scientist with France’s CNRS.

Christophe Defert, Director, CI Ventures. Defert joined Centrica’s mergers & acquisitions (M&A) department and later led the European gas origination team as part of Centrica Marketing and Trading. Prior to that he worked at the private equity firm Tower Brook Capital Partners, where he focused on growth equity investments and leverage buyouts in a variety of industries, and is also a former investment banker at Merrill Lynch in London.

Sam Salisbury, Director, CI Labs. Salisbury led the Ignite impact investment fund having joined Centrica in 2011 as part of the corporate strategy team. Formerly Salisbury was a strategy consultant at Arthur D. Little.

Jonathan Tudor, Director, Technology & Innovation Strategy, Social Impact Division. Tudor was the former global managing director of BP Ventures, with 20-years of experience in various technology based business development and investment roles.