Olivier Guillaume and Nicolas Rochon

“The solution for the climate is coming from the entrepreneurs and the institutions”

CTech spoke to RGREEN INVEST, a Paris-based investment management company that has come to Israel to help fight the climate crisis

As Europe currently faces one of its largest recorded heatwaves, and wildfires break out in the UK and France, it is becoming apparent that companies, individuals, and institutions must address the changing climate. As the war between Russia and Ukraine also rages on, it is also clear that efforts must also be taken to tackle the impending energy crisis.
“When we started, renewable energy was really an issue, because it was too expensive and all the customers said that to spend a lot of money on renewable energy didn’t make sense,” explained Nicolas Rochon, Founder and CEO of RGREEN INVEST. “Today it is totally different because renewable energy is the solution against climate change but also the energy crisis in Europe.”

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Olivier Guillaume and Nicolas Rochon
(Photo: Calcalist)

Rochon was joined by the firm’s Head of Equity Investment, Olivier Guillaume, who together spoke to CTech during their first visit to Israel. The firm, which has remotely worked with Israeli companies and institutions in the past, has landed physically to meet with potential entrepreneurs and institutions who may benefit from its fund. RGREEN INVEST has more than 1.4 billion euros ($1.43 billion) under management and hopes to invest half of that this year into projects that tackle climate change and address the energy crisis. According to the duo, they are looking for technologies relating to storage, energy efficiency, and other related sectors.
In Israel, RGREEN INVEST is represented by 4F Distribution, a consulting and third-party marketing firm within investment and distribution areas. It is one of the partnerships that help the Paris-based firm penetrate Startup Nation and enable it to identify projects that might support the cause. “I am quite impressed with the meetings we had with the institutions because they know the sector very well,” said Guillaume. “It is quite a specific sector and they were very authoritative.”
Today, the firm is investing in 1,200 projects around Europe and has strong partnerships with more than 25 entrepreneurs, some of which include Israeli companies. Israel has been a natural hub for climate-tech in recent years due to its weather and lack of natural resources. Because of this, Startup Nation is home to many companies that take on the climate crisis with solutions that rely on solar or wind energies as a way to stop relying on other more environmentally unfriendly resources.
While many of the investments the firm makes are in Europe, the climate is a global issue and so its outreach extends to regions all over the world. When it comes to solar energy and land needed, the pair admit that North America and Asia are a little easier to work with due to the physical land mass the regions have, as well as less bureaucratic work often found in the EU. Despite this, the firm pledges to continue the work with experts from Israel, Europe, and beyond - an effort it expects will see results in the next five years.
The firm makes a special note to address how closely it works with partners and institutions that it believes can tackle some of these issues. “The mission of the company is really to fight against climate change and offer a solution to develop sustainable infrastructure all around the world,” Rochon said. “We are close to all the industry and the entrepreneurs, and we really offer a mechanism to develop the story of the entrepreneur around Europe. It is our specificity.”
“The solution for the climate is coming from the entrepreneurs and the institutions. They need money and we need to offer the money not to spend the money, but to support the entrepreneur. It is really key for their success,” Guillaume added.