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Technology is evolving faster than ever before. It creates the opportunity for new products, business models, and bringing products more quickly to market. But what does it mean for industries such as mobility and energy? I spoke to Girish Nadkarni, the CEO of TotalEnergies Ventures, to find out.

TotalEnergies  Ventures focuses on finding, funding, and fostering high-potential startups that will create a low carbon future. This encompasses areas such as renewables, distributed energy, new mobility, energy access, energy storage, bio-plastics and recycling, AI, and IoT.

The challenges for B2B startups in the Venture Capital space

According to Nadkarni, success in the B2B space is markedly different from B2C.

In the B2B industrial space, it’s not just that technology takes time to develop. It’s a sector characterized by long development and sales cycles. In the B2C world, within nine to 18 you know whether or not you will be successful.

Industrial B2B startups disrupt large established companies, and traditional industries like utilities and manufacturing. They often focus on internal transformation or introducing new products to mission-critical functions and tasks. Therefore, startups need experience in the industries they aim to disrupt and support from a solid network to open doors. 

TotalEnergies Ventures focuses on later-stage investments. Nadkarni explains:

There are three risks that startups face: technology, market, and financing. So we say, ‘Okay, show us that you have customers willing to pay.’ We have a business development team, which works with our portfolio companies, and we address the barriers to success, make sure they talk to the right people.

Over the last couple of years, TotalEnergies Ventures have negotiated 25 different pilot projects and agreements and has another 55 under negotiation. According to Nadkarni:

We are making sure that we are not just a passive investor but a value-added partner.