Demeter Partners is a capital investment pioneer in the cleantech sector in France, Spain and Germany. What sort of companies and projects do you support?
Sophie Paturle: Since our creation in 2005, we have been supporting companies of all sizes, from start-ups whose innovation has barely left the laboratory, through to established SMEs. We also invest in infrastructures, enabling us to cover every type of need throughout the equity chain. Our aim is to transform innovative projects into profitable businesses. We are convinced that it is possible to play a positive role in the energy transition and the environment and run a profitable business at the same time. We have provided funding for 65 companies in10 years. Since each investment lasts for between 5 and 7 months, our portfolio evolves on a regular basis. Over the course of the last 6 months, we have invested in 10 start-ups, 4 development capital projects and 1 infrastructure project.
What are the needs of these companies and how do you address them?
S. P.: There are two types of needs and they vary depending on the company’s stage of development. Firstly, of course, there are financial needs: start-up launch, growth of an SME, funding for a large infrastructure, etc. But additional support is also extremely important. For example, we might help a start-up put together a business plan, protect its industrial property and recruit, or assist an SME in the drawing up of a development and diversification strategy. Moreover, thanks to our pool of partners (investors, industrial players, competitiveness clusters, pubic authorities, etc.), we enable entrepreneurs to expand their network. Club Demeter meetings and themed events are organized throughout the year to this end.
IFPEN has been supporting Demeter Partners since its creation. What does this partnership bring you?
S. P.: That’s right, IFPEN is a long-standing and leading partner: sponsor of the Demeter 1 fund, subscriber to successive funds and member of all our committees. We have developed close ties at every level, from research unit to general management. Its international influence and the partnerships it has forged have also helped us build a genuine cleantech eco-system. Its reputation also helps underpin the credibility of the companies we support when they seek new customers. In addition, IFPEN shares expert advice with consultative committees who examine projects for which we are considering providing funding support. Lastly, we draw on its intellectual property expertise to help entrepreneurs requiring guidance in this area.
Watch Sophie Paturle's interview (in French):