Yann Coïc is the new director of EDF Pulse Ventures. He explains his ambitions for the EDF Group's corporate venture capital (CVC).
You are the new Director of EDF Pulse Ventures. Can you tell us a bit more about this programme?
EDF Pulse Ventures is the corporate venture capital (CVC) arm of the EDF Group. It was created in 2017 with the ambition of helping the Group build a Net Zero future. To achieve this, EDF Pulse Ventures invests in innovative startups capable of supporting and accelerating the Group's various activities, as well as creating new businesses.
Today, EDF Pulse Ventures is a team of around ten people, drawing on a wealth of experience in investment and finance, as well as in-depth knowledge of the Group's businesses. An essential combination for making the right investment choices for EDF!
Why did you decide to create a corporate venture capital (CVC) within the EDF Group?
Innovation is at the heart of the EDF Group's raison d'être. By opening up to our external environment through investment in startups, we can accelerate innovation within the Group and achieve Net Zero more quickly.
Investing in a startup represents a fantastic playground for testing innovations and improving the performance of our businesses, sometimes in a shorter timeframe than through in-house development. Investing in a startup also strengthens the relationship between the Group and the start-up, making it easier to develop synergies.
What is the difference between a venture capital (VC) fund and a corporate venture capital (CVC) fund like EDF Pulse Ventures?
The main objective of a venture capital fund (VC) is to ensure a financial return for its investors while respecting its investment scope (industrial decarbonization, climate tech, hydrogen, etc.).
A corporate venture (CVC) such as EDF Pulse Ventures, while seeking to create financial value for the Group, has the primary objective of creating synergies between the startups in which it invests and the Group's various businesses. This is a highly differentiating factor, which means we have to be very selective in our investments’s choice, but it also means we can fully integrate innovation into our businesses.
What are the EDF Group's ambitions with EDF Pulse Ventures?
EDF Pulse Ventures has invested more than €400 million since its creation and has a portfolio of around 20 startups. Our aim is to continue to invest, with 3 to 4 investments in new startups per year, focusing on the major challenges facing the EDF Group to best serve our ambitions. We also want to have a living portfolio of startups, capable of renewing itself and creating value.
Our aim is to have a real impact on the Group and on decarbonizing the world, by deploying new renewable energies, contributing to major nuclear projects, proposing new approaches to the customer experience and so on. In short: we're looking for the unicorn of tomorrow's energy sector!
What kind of startups is EDF Pulse Ventures interested in?
EDF Pulse Ventures mainly invests in startups that are entering the marketing phase of their product (series A or B), whether software or hardware, and that can address the European market. We seek a place on the board of these companies, but remain a minority investor with entry tickets generally between €2M and €5M.
As I said earlier, we invest in startups committed to decarbonization. More specifically, we gear our investments to the Group's strategic framework for innovation, which is updated every year. This year, we are taking a particular interest in 10 areas: carbon and its entire value chain, new renewable energies, water management, all issues related to HR and the attractiveness of our businesses, long-term energy storage, biodiversity, decarbonization and electrification of industrial processes, nuclear power, decentralized energies and flexibility management.
Finally, we are very sensitive to the issue of diversity and the role of women in the startups in which EDF Pulse Ventures invests.
Why should a startup choose EDF as a shareholder?
EDF is the world leader in low-carbon energy production and has placed innovation and decarbonization at the heart of its raison d'être. The Group therefore has a strong reputation and legitimacy in the field of energy and decarbonization, which can benefit the startups in which EDF Pulse Ventures invests. We also have unique commercial resources and industrial expertise that represent a real asset for accelerating and consolidating the development of the startups in which we invest.
About Yann Coic
After a short experience as a financial analyst with the Euler Hermès Group, Yann Coic joined the M&A department of the EDF Group, where he worked on a number of sale and acquisition projects. He then joined the Group's Optimisation Department and its London-based trading subsidiary, EDF Trading. Before taking over the management of EDF Pulse Ventures, Yann Coic was in charge of asset management and development at EDF Hydro, the EDF entity in charge of the operation, maintenance and development of the Group's hydropower fleet.