INVEN CAPITAL invests in cyber security. The Israeli CyberX platform protects energy operations as well as infrastructure.
INVEN CAPITAL, CEZ Group’s investment fund that seeks opportunities in the new energy sector, acquired a minority share in the successful Israeli company CyberX. They are a major supplier of complex solutions in industrial cyber security. This is already INVEN CAPITAL’s second investment in Israel. In the four years of its existence, the fund has made nine investments in four countries and has successfully exited one of its investments.
CyberX was established in 2013 by leading army specialists in defending critical national infrastructure. The company delivers customised solutions for industrial cyber security capable of effectively reducing the risk of production outages and preventing security failures, environmental incidents, or intellectual property thefts. Today, systems supplied by CyberX guard two of the US five largest energy utilities, a top 5 global pharmaceutical company and a top 5 US chemical company. CyberX’s technological partners include IBM, Deutsche Telekom, Palo Alto Networks, DXC Technology, Splunk, Optiv, and McAfee.
Together with the Qualcomm Ventures fund, INVEN CAPITAL became a shareholder in CyberX in the current financing round, which sums up to USD 18 million, joining the group of existing investors – international venture capital funds such as Norwest Venture Partners, Glilot Capital Partners, Flint Capital, ff Venture Capital, and OurCrowd.
“Cyber security has become one of the cornerstones for successful management of modern companies and demand for these services is growing exponentially,” says CEZ Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Renewable Energy and Distribution Officer Tomáš Pleskač. “Along with other energy companies we must strive to gain a head-start in cyber security in order to protect well our facilities.”
By introducing elements of cyber security, companies in the energy sector reduce the risk of sudden outages in energy production and distribution that could have serious consequences for the functioning of entire national economies. Simultaneously, related legal requirements are being tightened, be it local cyber laws or European legislation in the form of GDPR.
“Today, Israel is a mighty and inspiring incubator for our technological future, where start-up companies achieve a high increase in their value. Particularly in the sphere of cyber security, Israel is among the best in the world,” explains Petr Míkovec, INVEN CAPITAL Managing Director, the reasons for the new investment.
“We gladly welcome INVEN CAPITAL among our investors. We see this step as a confirmation of the market potential of the entire cybersecurity sector, as well as evidence of the high level of our company’s expertise. The support that we have received from our new as well as the existing investors will allow us to carry on in our three-digit year-on-year growth,” says Omer Schneider, co-founder and CEO of CyberX.
“Security of industrial management systems is a priority for most economies around the globe. CyberX supplies highly innovative and comprehensive solutions for this segment, including a professional and one-on-one approach,” adds Pavel Hejduk, manager of the ČEZ Information and Cyber Security Department.
During more than four years of operations and investments in energy-related start-up companies, INVEN CAPITAL has earned itself a reputation of a qualified and capable investor that supports start-up companies in the new energy sector. Its high-quality management team, the portfolio of companies invested in, the performance of the fund, and the successful due diligence process led to the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) decision to form a shared investment structure with INVEN CAPITAL, in which the EIB has undertaken to provide EUR 50 million for INVEN CAPITAL to manage. The most recent investment is, however, due to its location outside of the EU territory, an exclusive project of INVEN CAPITAL.
Israel is one of the technologically most developed countries in the world, especially in the sphere of software, smart mobility, cyber security, communications, and natural sciences. The volume of trade exchange between the Czech Republic and Israel amounted to CZK 30.7 billion in 2017 (3.7% year-on-year growth), with a significantly positive balance in favour of the Czech Republic (the difference being CZK +17.7 bn). Thus far, several inter-governmental consultations have taken place between the governments of the Czech Republic and of the State of Israel, which emphasised cooperation in new areas, including cyber security, science, technologies, and innovations.
INVEN CAPITAL is a venture capital fund of the ČEZ Group, supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB). EIB financing uses funds from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). INVEN CAPITAL’s strategy is to seek opportunities for investing in smaller, innovative and growing smart energy businesses. It primarily focuses on later-stage growth investment opportunities with sound business models demonstrated by earnings and long-term growth potential. INVEN CAPITAL’s goal is to generate long-term value through active collaboration with the companies it invests in and to actively support organic or acquisition-based growth strategy. Companies in INVEN CAPITAL’s portfolio can take advantage of the CEZ Group’s extensive expertise in the energy sector, its client base, and technology synergies for their further development. The fund is a full member of Invest Europe (https://www.investeurope.eu – European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association) and CVCA (http://www.cvca.cz – Czech Private Equity and Venture Capital Association).
INVEN CAPITAL’s first investment in 2015 was into the Bavarian companysonnen,a global leader in producing intelligent battery systems for household energy storage, sonnen was acquired by the Shell Group which resulted in a successful exit for Inven Capital. The first investment was followed by the acquisition of shares in German companies Sunfire (which develops and launches industrial production of the most advanced energy technologies based on fuel/electrolyte cells for reducing CO2 emissions and developing decentralised sources) and tado°,a European leader in the field of smart thermostats. In 2017, investments were made into the Germany company Cloud & Heat Technologies,which uses heat from decentralised data centres to provide energy, and the French company Vulog,which is a major global player in producing technological solutions for ecological car-sharing. The year 2018 saw the acquisition of a share in the FrenchCosmo Tech platform, which develops software platforms for optimising management decisions. It made its first investment in Israel last year, when it acquired a minority stake in the company Driivz which offers comprehensive software solutions in the area of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Some of the solutions produced by some of the companies mentioned above have already appeared in ČEZ Group’s offer for its customers. In February 2019 INVEN CAPITAL completed the first sale from its portfolio, fulfilling its assignment to return profits from successful investments to the parent group. The fund´s share in sonnen was purchased by Shell.
Martin Schreier, ČEZ Spokesman
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