June 16, 2021 (Houston, TX) – VC Fuel LLC today announced the formation of the first investment firm focused exclusively on energy transition investing across the capital structure, with the dual mandate of providing venture capital funding for early stage and growth companies, as well as infrastructure financing to aid in bringing the companies to scale. VC Fuel was founded by Ahmad Atwan, who spent the first two decades of his career as a successful entrepreneur and investor in the energy industry.
VC Fuel will provide early stage and growth capital to companies across the energy transition space, including but not limited to renewable fuels, carbon capture and storage (CCUS), electric vehicles and electrification, clean agriculture, hydrogen, sustainable manufacturing, and energy efficiency. Its sister fund, VC Infrastructure, will provide the capital necessary to build the infrastructure that is needed to bring companies funded by VC Fuel, as well as others, to scale.
Prior to founding VC Fuel, Atwan helped build an energy technology company and founded a renewable fuels company, both of which were sold at attractive returns to investors. In addition, he most recently served as a Managing Director and energy sector leader at BlackRock and Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners.
Founder and CEO of VC Fuel, Ahmad Atwan, remarked, “While there has been a proliferation of capital that has entered the energy transition sector, to date there is no investment firm capable of investing in the earlier, venture capital stages of development and helping provide the necessary capital required to scale through infrastructure financing. This disconnect led to failure of many renewables firms during what is commonly referred to as Cleantech 1.0 during the late 2000s. VC Fuel aims to be a pioneer in providing this integrated offering to companies seeking financing when it’s most needed.”
Atwan continued, “We aim to invest in companies that at scale can remove 500 million tons of carbon per year, which is roughly equivalent to 1% of global carbon emissions. We believe this ambitious decarbonization goal goes hand in hand with making highly profitable, sustainable investments.”
VC Fuel has already invested in four companies across its target energy sectors. One such investment is Hardee Fresh, the country’s only certified organic vertical farming company, which is also an industry leader in decarbonization and sustainability. Through multiple investment rounds in Hardee Fresh, VC Fuel demonstrated its unique ability to support companies throughout each growth stage.
“VC Fuel invested in Hardee Fresh in its first round of financing, and subsequently led an investment round that helped bring our company to scale,” said Halton Peters, President of Hardee Fresh. “Having the support from Ahmad and VC Fuel has added tremendous value through each stage of our strategic growth, including in financial, operational, and commercial areas.”
VC Fuel is also unique in that it is focused on developing an energy transition investment ecosystem in Texas.
“VC Fuel is a much-needed shot in the arm for Houston’s energy transition finance community,” said Chuck McConnell, Head of the Energy Transition Center at the University of Houston who serves as a Senior Advisor to VC Fuel. “Ahmad has the investment acumen and credibility necessary to connect emerging energy transition firms with the largest companies in the world’s energy capital. He is extremely hands-on and his number one mission is to help VC Fuel’s companies succeed and scale.”
Atwan concluded, “With the formation of VC Fuel and VC Infrastructure, we are delighted to provide leading entrepreneurs and companies with access to private capital, from foundation through what is a hopefully successful monetization or exit. We have assembled a best-in-class team in Houston, Texas with expertise in both investing and in the ever-evolving energy transition landscape and we look forward to actively adding value to our portfolio companies from the get-go.”