Dutch clean energy conglomerate Koolen Industries has become a shareholder in EIT InnoEnergy, Europe’s sustainable energy innovation engine, to accelerate the commercialisation of clean energy start-ups. By joining forces, these major industry players will combine sectoral expertise and broad industry contacts to support technology start-ups that focus on sustainability solutions.
Entrepreneur Kees Koolen, an early investor in Uber and former CEO of booking.com, founded Koolen Industries in early 2019 with the ambition to make clean energy accessible and affordable.
Since then, Koolen Industries has invested in a number of projects, such as lithium battery company Super B and smart charging company Floading, to increase the positive impact they can have on the environment.
“Koolen Industries appreciates the value we add to the start-up landscape. By welcoming them as a shareholder, we can achieve synergies,” said Jacob Ruiter, CEO of EIT InnoEnergy Benelux.
“Kees Koolen’s entrepreneurial flare and extensive global network will invigorate our offering and take our existing start-up portfolio to the next level. The investment will help us jointly deepen our engagements with sustainability companies, at a time when the climate crisis continues to intensify. This coming together of two powerful forces will help us speed up the transition to a low carbon future.”
EIT InnoEnergy provides funding and helps start-ups reduce the involved risk and shorten the time to market. In addition to direct involvement, EIT InnoEnergy runs a flagship competition – Global Call for Start-ups – where the very best innovations within the cleantech space can win a seat in one of the support programmes and even a cash prize to support their developments in sustainable energy fields such as renewable energy, mobility and smart cities.
“EIT InnoEnergy first caught my attention when I attended their Global Call for Start-ups finals in 2019, and I was impressed,” said Kees Koolen, CEO, Koolen Industries.
“Our paths have also overlapped on start-ups. We’re both investors in Hardt Hyperloop and Elestor, which is a clear indication that we have the same eye for success. The access gained by becoming a shareholder in EIT InnoEnergy will allow us to invest early in crucial innovations and maximise value as the start-ups we support speed up their journey to commercial success.”
EIT InnoEnergy supports more than 30 start-ups and innovations in the Benelux region and a further 200 across Europe. The business has invested more than €500 million since it was founded in 2010.