SINGAPORE (Nov 27): Royal Dutch Shell is scouring Asia for digital start-ups to support its clean energy unit. The world’s second-largest publicly traded oil company started a New Energies business last year as global use of renewable energy sources grows. Shell expects the unit to invest US$1 billion ($1.35 billion) in low-carbon projects such as hydrogen, solar, biofuels and wind over the next three years.
Shell already has a 20-year-old fund, called Shell Technology Ventures, to help it stay on top of tech disruption and find new growth areas. But it has recently formed a new venture fund called Digital Ventures, which will invest in technologies to develop digital and connectivity-based solutions for customers. Examples of Shell-funded start-ups are Germany- based Tiramizoo, which provides same-day delivery and software to help retailers manage large volumes of goods; UK-based Fare Pilot, which helps self-employed taxi drivers find areas of high demand; and Wonder- Bill, which helps ordinary people track their electricity bills and find better deals from suppliers.
A key focus area is transport and logistics. “We look to partner leading players as well as start-ups that challenge the conventional transport models or services to motorists and help shape how we use transport and energy today,” says Nir Ten Bosch, Shell’s venture lead for connected freight. “We are developing a portfolio of equity investments in mobility and connected energy startups that we will actively support.”