Battery storage, smart grid, and energy efficiency companies together raised $252 million in venture capital funding in the first quarter of 2020, according to consultancy firm Mercom Capital.

The battery storage companies raised $164 million, smart grid companies raised $81 million and energy efficiency companies raised $7 million.

In its report on funding and mergers & acquisitions (M&A) activity in these sectors, Mercom Capital said that in 2020 companies raised 20% more than the same period last year.

When it comes to battery storage firms, Demand Power Group, which raised $71 million from Star America, became the top-funded company. Then there is Highview Power which raised $46 million from Sumitomo Heavy Industries and Advano which raised $19 million from Mitsui Kinzoku SBI Material Innovation Fund.

“In Q1 2020, announced debt and public market financing for Battery Storage technologies was 54% higher YoY compared to $52 million in two deals in Q12019 and one battery storage project fund of $140 million was also announced in the quarter,” the report said.

According to the report, there were four M&A transactions involving battery storage companies for an undisclosed amount. One of them was Blackstone Energy Partners that acquired NRStor C&I, a subsidiary of NRStor, a developer of battery storage solutions.

However, the total corporate funding in Smart Grid came to $86 million in nine deals compared to $32 million in 16 deals in Q1 2019, the report said.

“The top five VC funded Smart Grid companies included: Smart Wires, which secured $43 million; GridBeyond raised $14 million from Energias De Portugal, Act Venture Capital, Electricity Supply Board, and Total Carbon Neutrality Ventures; Driivz raised $11 million from Gilbarco Veeder-Root and Centrica Innovations,” it said.

“Five million dollars was raised in two debt financing deals in Q1 2020, compared to $28 million in one deal in Q4 2019.”

One of the five major M&A deals in the sector included EDF’s acquisition of a majority stake in Pod Point, an electric vehicle charge point provider.

Coming to efficiency, in Q1 2020, there were no debt and public market financing deals. “By comparison, in Q4 2019, $315 million was raised in one deal. In Q1 2019, there was also one deal for $55 million,” the report said.

In the first quarter, there was one M&A transaction for $1.4 billion, while in Q4 2019, there was no M&A transaction.

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