With impact-focused backers from Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and leading private equity firms, Blue Bear will drive growth for companies leveraging artificial intelligence to speed the industrialization of renewables and buildout of sustainable supply chains
Blue Bear Capital, a venture and growth equity firm focused on AI-powered solutions for the world’s energy, infrastructure, and climate challenges, announced today an oversubscribed final close of its second venture capital fund at its hard cap of $150 million.
Like Blue Bear’s first fund, the new fund will focus on digital technologies making an outsized impact in markets including wind, solar, the electric grid, EV infrastructure, transportation, and energy-intensive industries.
“Trillions of dollars will be spent to scale renewable energy, modernize infrastructure, and secure sustainable supply chains,” said Blue Bear partner Ernst Sack. “Meanwhile artificial intelligence is redefining how data is captured, decisions are made, and relationships are built all around us. Where these two forces converge — applying the power of AI-enabled technologies to the immense challenges of the energy transition — is where Blue Bear sees the greatest investment and impact opportunity of our lifetimes.”
The new fund will continue to focus at the early revenue stage and help companies scale in customers, product, and talent through Blue Bear’s network of thousands of industry contacts including corporate and private equity leaders who often sit on the boards of major customers and future strategic partners. Blue Bear’s model helps companies build past the startup phase and engage with large institutions and public equity markets which are increasingly looking for climate solutions with proven business execution.
“As specialists we believe in a high conviction, concentrated approach to portfolio construction,” said Blue Bear partner Vaughn Blake. “We select companies with long-term partnership in mind, we will be with you through the ups and downs, over the course of the company’s lifecycle. We avoid the high-volume approach to venture, where a handful of companies are expected to make up a fund’s returns while the bulk are left to fall away.”
Blue Bear investors in the new fund include premier institutions AIMS Imprint of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, ZOMA Capital, and the McKnight Foundation alongside leadership from over a dozen large private equity firms and energy companies. Advisory Board members include First Reserve President Alex Krueger, former NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, and former BP Chairman and CEO Lord John Browne.
“We are enthusiastic about the material alignment between the McKnight Foundation’s goals to invest in the energy transition and Blue Bear’s ambition to deliver outsized financial returns with quantifiable ESG impact,” said Elizabeth McGeveran, McKnight’s Director of Investments. “With so much capital entering the energy transition, we appreciate Blue Bear’s approach to delivering institutional capital to the formative, earlier stages of company building.”
Blue Bear’s strategy and execution are informed by the leadership team’s decades of experience in energy investing, startup building, and technology development:
- Partner Ernst Sack, who has over 15 years of energy investing experience and has participated in over 30 energy and technology company boards
- Partner Vaughn Blake, a former entrepreneur, industrial tech fund manager, and LP allocator to emerging managers
- Partner Dr. Carolin Funk, an energy transition veteran with over 15 years of experience in policy, corporate venture, and as COO of two energy storage startups
- CTO and Partner Dr. Rob MacInnis, who holds a doctorate in computer science and startup experience in cloud computing and blockchain technologies
- General Counsel and COO Hank Hattemer, a tech entrepreneur, also formerly with global law firm Latham & Watkins’ leveraged finance group
“A great advantage of Blue Bear is our team’s combination of personal startup experience with deep industry ties across the corporate and private equity world,” said Blue Bear partner Dr. Carolin Funk. “While we have the same entrepreneurial DNA as our founders, our team members have also spent years at organizations like Siemens, BP, Riverstone, KKR, and NASA, so we understand the world of large-scale assets and complex systems. We can help startups navigate how to get their technology solutions applied with maximum impact, speed, and visibility.”
The fund, which has backed nine new companies since 2020, will continue to invest in the two strategies that Blue Bear’s partners refer to as “nail a vertical” and “scale horizontal”. The first encompasses vertical SaaS solutions that address key operational bottlenecks and dominate niche use cases, especially in energy, infrastructure and climate tech markets. Examples include Omnidian for distributed solar asset management, Raptor Maps for optimizing large-scale solar performance, Shoreline for simulating and executing offshore wind development, FreeWire for managing electric vehicle charging, Accure for battery health and safety, Copper for wireless metering, Voyager for streamlining marine transportation, and EnMass for waste-to-energy logistics. The second category features horizontal enterprise software that has value across many markets, across which Blue Bear accelerates access to energy and climate use cases. Examples include Urbint for infrastructure safety, Everactive for self-powered data capture, First Resonance for scaling innovative manufacturing, Datch for industrial voice AI, Mira for visual computing, Demex for climate and weather risk management, Mission Secure for asset-level cyber security, and Transect for environmental compliance and protection.
“Our team is always looking ahead to new technologies on the edge of commercialization,” said Ernst Sack. “Concepts like machine learning for solar systems or digital twins for wind farms seemed like a bunch of buzzwords a few years ago, but have proven to make great businesses. Now we believe wide learning will be the next deep learning, immersive computing will be the next human/machine interface, and distributed systems will be the next way energy and value are networked together. We want to hear from founders out there applying concepts like these to innovate how our world is powered.”
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