In 2007 the UK Government’s signed an agreement to deliver 20% of energy requirements through the use of renewables. Mark & David, founders of VN Capital Partners, spent 2+ years researching, evaluating, qualifying, and working with new, renewable energy technologies and originators, including:
Bio-fuels including algae
Urban Wind Towers
Dual Fuel & Tri-Fuel co-firing
Clean Gas Engines
Electro-Chemical Hydrogen Generation.
We quickly recognised that established energy players had little or no appetite for ‘NEW’ at all, save ‘talking’ about Off/Onshore Wind, and PV, both of which have never declared exactly how much CO2 is emitted in their construction, implementation or running, not least the requirements for fossil-fuel derived grid-stability power back-up in all instances.
We also researched new fuels, and readily identified LPG as an early transport & energy ‘saviour’ component, but Hydrogen as the most likely real ingredient in any new energy solution. However, UK Government and large commercial energy players/generators/manufacturers had little or no interest in the development of new alternative fuels when approached, despite EU agreements and commitments.
Undeterred, detailed global investigations into novel Hydrogen production methods were researched, during which we were introduced to a Hydrogen Generation technology (Electro-Hydrogen Generation) which used off-the-shelf materials and operated by harvesting waste-heat, pressure and inertia to release hydrogen and oxygen from water-based electrolytes.
Following a successful demonstration of the technology, we acquired the IP, research and rights to the technology in late 2009 with the assistance of the UKTI. We then formed a specialist technical and delivery team which included the University of Newcastle, and formulated a development plan, presenting it to VCs and Investment Houses both in UK and Europe for funding.
Prevailing economic conditions, and an extremely risk-averse VC community at that time required the team to think again. To Improvise; Adapt; and Overcome.
The team stumbled upon a clear and substantial gap in the technology funding and commercialisation space, where talented Inventors, Scientists and Engineers were unable to fund bleeding-edge technology solutions, and the Investment community wasn’t investing in high-risk; high-reward ventures, and so Viridis Navitas Capital Partners, VN-CP was born.
Taking the fundamental business principles required for success, (learned that hard-way throughout our respective careers) and putting them to work in the field of hard-tech start-ups, VN-CP was to become the Go-to Company for Inventors, Scientists and Engineers looking to commercialise their ideas/solutions/technologies.
VN-CP started with the clear concept of developing technologies that not only deliver profitable companies for successful investor exits, but that also have clear and transparent principles of operation including, but not limited to the following:
- Complete financial transparency to investors in any and all aspects of the company, including projected share dilutions on future fundraising
- Projects that have had time, money and effort spent by the management team qualifying them and their potential market so that the business plan and all of its metrics are reference-able, understandable and make business-sense
- Projects that are driven by Government legislation and incentives
- SEIS and EIS opportunities only marketed to investors once Advanced Assurance by HMRC is confirmed
- No ongoing fees to manage invested funds
- A one-off distribution fee paid to access funds and investors
- No salaried management teams until the companies move to commercialisation (usually in round 3)
- All company deliverables are outsourced to industry specialists and the scientific community on fixed price, fixed outcome, SLA underpinned contracts
- No ongoing OPEX requiring funding, i.e. all funds are directed towards delivering engineering solutions, independently verified proofs, IP protection, company administration and prototypes up until commercialisation
- All returns from the companies’ successful exit go to investors, there are no management success fees
- The management team are incentivised by equity stakes in the company, therefore investors and management team are completely aligned.