BNP Paribas Hosts Signature Navigate Connection Event

NECEC held its sixth Navigate Investor Corporate Customer Connect (ICCC) on June 21 in New York at BNP Paribas. The event opened with remarks from NECEC President Peter Rothstein and Navigate Director Catarina Madeira highlighting NECEC’s mission to support early-stage companies and drive the Northeast  clean energy economy. Colby Creedon, Project Manager, Technology to Market at NYSERDA joined the welcome note and talked about the recently launched Co-Investment Fund, while Hervé Duteil, Chief Sustainability Officer, Americas, BNP Paribas, highlighted how fast the investor landscape is evolving.

“From a greater integration of environmental (and social) issues into mainstream asset allocation to an acceleration of thematic investing (especially in the space of green infrastructure and clean technologies), investors are increasingly driving the transition towards a more sustainable society,” he said.  “However, while business ideas are plentiful, they remain fragmented or too early stage to satisfy current investor demand,” he added.

ICCC’s model is simple. The event brings together two key stakeholders: cleantech startups, affiliated with incubators and accelerators located across North America, and investment professionals, from angels to impact funds and corporate strategics actively looking for deal flow and aiming to invest, partner,  acquire or act as a customer to test out new solutions. Of the 70 startup applicants, 37 were invited to participate along with 25 investors and strategics. Participants held more than 160 curated one-on-one meetings and had time to network.

With each new edition, ICCC has attracted a higher number of participants and mirrored the continuous change of the cleantech ecosystem. Some of the key pieces fueling that change include the following:

  • Strategics: Traditional energy corporates and utilities are creating, expanding, and reinventing their venture arms to disrupt themselves and the market. Examples include Enel, with the launch of their innovation hub in Boston, and National Grid Partners, with their new venture fund.
  • Funding sources: New investment firms and family offices are being created to focus on companies led by women or minorities or companies developing technologies with a serious impact on carbon emissions. State agencies such as NYSERDA, MassCEC, and Commerce RI have grants, funds, and co-investment funds in place. And financial institutions that previously focused on traditional banking, such as BNP Paribas, are now at the forefront of sustainability and innovation through their own funds created to support early-stage companies.
  • Startup Incubators and Accelerators: In many cases, these are the organizations that work on a daily basis with the entrepreneurs to get them ready to market. Their growing networks, mentoring programs, and tailored approaches are all helping drive this change.

However, it is what happens after the event that matters more - the follow up meetings and the hand-in-hand work these organizations do together. Navigate’s role is to make sure both parts remain connected so as to provide additional introductions when applicable.  

We’re hosting the second ICCC of the year this November in Boston. If you would like to be part of this one-of-a-kind event, please reach out!

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Catarina Madeira

Catarina is the Director of Cleantech Navigate Northeast, one of NECEC's innovation programs.