Energy Capital Ventures Launches New Fund

Energy Capital Ventures (ECV), a Chicago, IL-based venture capital fund purpose-built for driving environmental, social and governance innovation and digital transformation for the natural gas distribution industry, closed on $45m in capital commitments.

The founding limited partners are Avista Utilities (NYSE: AVA), Black Hills Corporation (NYSE: BKH), NiSource (NYSE: NI), Southwest Gas (NYSE: SWX) and Spire (NYSE: SR).  

The fund will focus on early-stage ESG investments in decarbonization, renewable natural gas, hydrogen and other clean energy solutions, along with transformative digital capabilities for natural gas local distribution companies

The managers will work collaboratively with its corporate limited partners to identify the top founders and innovators that bring strategic value to its limited partners.

This is the first tranche of capital toward a larger fund targeting additional natural gas and diversified utilities, companies participating in and along the natural gas value chain, as well as traditional institutional limited partners who appreciate the ESG imperatives of the fund and the principals’ strong track record, according to ECV managing general partner Vic Pascucci III. 

Pascucci has led numerous investments in multibillion-dollar companies and category-defining startups. His previous investments include Personal Capital (acquired by Empower Retirement),, MX, Extend, TRUECar (NASDAQ: TRUE), (NYSE: CRCM), Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) and Clearcover. 

Joining Pascucci as general partners are Jeff Yingling and Ray O’Connor, two career-long energy sector investment bankers with billions of dollars in completed transaction volume combining for over 70 years of experience. Also joining as a general partner is successful Insurtech investor Rick Viton, who is also a partner with IA Capital, one of the largest strategic Insurtech fund managers with over 15 insurance company limited partner investors.

ECV has also assembled a Strategic Board of Advisors who include: 

  • Paul Addison, former Board Member and Finance Committee, First Energy Corp 
  • David Carroll, President & CEO, Gas Technology Institute (GTI); former President, International Gas Union; Board Member, National Fuel Gas Company 
  • Paul Dabbar, former Undersecretary for Science, Department of Energy 
  • Rod Goldstein, former Chairman and Managing Partner, Frontenac 
  • Chris Gould, EVP and Chief Sustainability Officer, California Resources Corporation; former Head of Corporate Strategy and Chief Innovation Officer, Exelon 
  • Brad Henderson, Chief Executive Officer, P33 Chicago 
  • Mike Huebsch, former Commissioner, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin and former State of Wisconsin – Secretary, Department of Administration, State Representative, Assembly Speaker, Majority Leader 
  • Andy Lerner, Founder and Managing Partner, IA Capital 
  • Allen Leverett, former CEO, WEC Energy Group 
  • Margaret MacLean, former President, International, MacLean Power Systems 
  • Bill Rogers, former EVP & CFO, CenterPoint Energy 
  • Timothy Simon, former Chairperson NARUC Gas Committee, Chair LNG NARUC/DOE partnership; Chairman of the Board of Directors, California African American Chamber of Commerce, former California PUC, Director, Energy Imbalance Market 
  • Jan Vrins, Managing Director/ Global Energy Practice Leader, Guidehouse 
  • Mahvash Yazdi, former SVP and Chief Information Officer, Edison International & So. Cal California Edison