National Grid Partners unveils five deals, plans to add staff

National Grid Partners, the venture arm of the international utility National Grid, unveiled its first five investments.

The newly launched corporate VC also announced its operations are based in Los Gatos, California, and it plans to expand with more locations in the San Francisco Bay Area to support its incubation program.

NGP is led by Senior Vice President and Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Lisa Lambert, who joined in January. She previously was a managing partner with the cleantech-focused Westly Group. Before that, she was with Intel Corp for 19 years, including as managing director at Intel Capital, where she founded the firm’s diversity’s fund.

Lambert said NGP aims to lead deals and plans to deploy $250 million over the next two to three years in 10 to 15 companies, with money reserved for follow-on rounds. It will focus on multi-stage investments worldwide, looking at cutting-edge technology companies in energy and IT, including electric cars, residential solar and smart energy and metering.

NGP’s initial investments include AutoGrid, which analyzes energy data for predictive maintenance; ClimaCell, provider of weather forecasting for the smart grid; Leap, which operates a marketplace for distributed energy resources; Omnidian, provider of protection plans for investments in residential and commercial solar energy systems; and Sitetracker, a SaaS platform for utilities.

The announcement of the five first deals is to let entrepreneurs and investors know that NGP is open for business and looking to collaborate, Lambert said. “We’re announcing more deals soon. We’re building a pipeline of deals, and there’s more to come.”

Lambert, a board member of the National Venture Capital Association, will participate in an NGP meet-and-greet on Nov. 15 in Palo Alto, California. Details are here: https://nvca.org/event/national-grid-ventures-reception/.

VCJ Venture Energy CVC
Lisa Lambert, chief technology and innovation officer, National Grid Partners. Photo courtesy of the firm.

Lambert tells VCJ she joined NGP because she found it appealing to start a venture operation from scratch. This includes not just the corporate VC, but also the launch of incubators, business development operations and a venture fellowship program.

“We’re building something unique from the ground up,” she said.

As to why she chose Los Gatos as NGP’s base, she said she likes its central location to other Bay Area cities from the South Bay to San Francisco and the East Bay.

NGP is exploring sites for expansion and is looking to add more staff. Lambert would not disclose how many people the venture operations employ.

At the moment, the team includes four vice presidents: Kareem Fahmy, formerly with Intel Capital; Dillon McDonald, who was with A3 Ventures and Greenstart before that; Brian Ryan, who came from New Zealand gas and electricity distributor Vector Ltd; and Pradeep Tagare, also from Intel Capital.

NGP said team members will be based in Los Gatos, San Francisco, Boston, New York and London.

Action Items: Lambert is on LinkedIn here https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisa-m-lambert-141448/ and can be reached at info@upwardwomen.org.