Total backs new Chinese energy fund with $50m investment

The Cathay Smart Energy Fund has a $250m target and will invest in emerging technologies, including energy storage and low carbon assets in China.

Total Energy Ventures, the venture capital arm of the French oil giant, has agreed to invest around 300 million yuan ($47.7 million; €38.8 million) in the Cathay Smart Energy Fund, a vehicle launched by French private equity firm Cathay Capital.

Hubei High Technology Investment Guiding Fund Management, a venture capital company backed by the Hubei provincial government and the vehicle’s third founding partner, will also invest around 300 million yuan.

“We believe there is a significant growth and innovation potential in areas of new energies and sustainable development, especially in China where the innovation ecosystem is very dynamic in the energy sector,” a spokeswoman for Cathay Capital, the fund’s GP, told Infrastructure Investor.

“Change is happening so quickly that if you are not paranoid, if you are not constantly looking over your shoulder, you could be in danger,” TEV’s chief executive Girish Nadkarni states in a video discussing Total’s investment in the new fund.

“Since we are an energy company, clearly areas relating to energy are of interest to us. So whether it’s smart energy, distributed energy, renewables, energy storage, things like that are definitely of interest to us,” he added, referring to the sub-sectors the vehicle will target.

Cathay Capital has been investing in small and middle-market companies for over 10 years and in digital start-ups for over three years through its venture capital vehicle. It currently manages eight funds and over $2 billion in assets.