An Update from Lisa Lambert, Founder & President

It’s hard to believe the first quarter of 2022 is behind us already. I wanted to give you a quick update on what’s been happening here at National Grid Partners, and what we’ll be working on in the months ahead.

Late last fall, I had the privilege of leading a panel at the UN’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow with the CEOs of National Grid, Edison International and the Electric Power Research Institute. We and the audience enjoyed a lively debate on the role of startups in helping utilities reach net-zero carbon emissions; if you missed it, check out the archived video.

We also publicly launched the NextGrid Alliance, a consortium of regulated energy utilities from around the world. In the past year, leaders from more than 80 NGA member companies have been working on solutions to decarbonization, cybersecurity and other shared challenges. You can read about the NGA and its goals here.

Last spring, we announced a fresh $150M in investment capital, bringing our total allocation since our late 2018 launch to $400M. We put that new money to work immediately, with 14 companies joining our portfolio last year.

More than 70 percent of NGP’s portfolio companies are actively engaged with National Grid business units, providing everything from AI solutions that improve worker safety to IoT technology that better monitors transmission lines (and boosts our capacity to onboard clean energy).

We were also pleased to see two more portfolio exits, in RiskIQ’s acquisition by Microsoft and Copperleaf’s (CPLFF) IPO on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Things haven’t slowed down in the new year, with battery storage innovator Viridi Parente and digital infrastructure leader Compute North joining a portfolio that now stands at 33 startups and four specialty investment funds. Meanwhile, our Innovation team continues to work even further upstream, identifying emerging technologies with the promise to solve industrywide problems and developing prototypes that can be handed off to National Grid or spun out as new subsidiaries.

It’s no time to rest. The global threat of climate change looms large, as do deadlines to meet international net-zero commitments by 2050. Getting there will require massive investments in technology and the expertise to deploy it in a highly regulated, cost conscious environment. It also will require unprecedented collaboration across industries; we’ll be looking to expand opportunities for the NextGrid Alliance beyond utilities to encompass the broader energy ecosystem. Got ideas? We’d love to hear them.

We expect to announce some exciting news mid-year that will accelerate our ability to invest in disruptive technologies and deploy them across the IT stack to benefit customers, shareholders and the planet. So stay in touch. Continue to check back here on our website and follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Lisa Lambert is the Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of National Grid, a multinational electricity and gas utility company, and the Founder and President of National Grid Partners, the company’s innovation and investment arm.  She was previously a Managing Partner at the Westly Group, responsible for investments in energy technology companies, and a Vice President at Intel Capital, where she oversaw the Software and Services sector and established the Intel Capital Diversity Fund. She is also the Founder and Chair of a non-profit called UPWARD, a global network of executive women committed to advancing women in leadership by implementing diversity and inclusion programming.