The top 25: Lisa Lambert, founder and president, National Grid Partners

Lisa Lambert is chief technology and innovation officer for energy utility National Grid and founder and president of its $250m corporate venture capital (CVC) and innovation vehicle, National Grid Partners (NGP).

National Grid chief executive John Pettigrew said of NGP: “I wanted to ensure we had an organisation that was connecting with new technology, with startups, and then bringing that new technology back into National Grid so we can adapt and meet the changing needs of our customers. And that is where National Grid Partners came from.

“For any startup that has got great technology and great ideas, National Grid is a great platform to take those ideas forward. Working with Lisa and her team, she will give you access to the people in our businesses who are desperate to improve service to our customers, improve security. It is a perfect segue into the business through Lisa.”

Before NGP, Lambert did a stint at venture capital firm The Westly Group, having joined from chipmaker Intel where she had spent 19 years in various roles including vice-president and managing director (MD) for its CVC unit, Intel Capital.

Lambert founded Intel Capital’s Diversity Fund and served as MD of software and services, where she led global investments in more than 100 companies and produced top-decile returns, including nine flotations and over 40 trade sales.

NGP focuses on early and growth-stage companies that can help National Grid better perform its core operations and play a role in the global disruption of energy, including the internet of things and grid modernisation, cloud and edge, artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics, security, distributed energy and energy management.

Since NGP was founded in early 2018, it has now made 23 investments and achieved two exit events: industrial technology manufacturer Siemens acquired edge computing platform developer Pixeom in October 2019 and cybersecurity software producer Palo Alto Networks bought network security technology developer Aporeto the month after.

In recent months, the unit has invested in distributed energy marketplace developer Leap, enterprise skills learning software developer EdCast, gas safety AI tech developer Urbint and speech recognition technology developer Uniphore.

The unit’s portfolio companies are creating impact at National Grid through both deployments and collaborations with core business units. Some examples include Copperleaf’s deployment in both the US and UK business optimises decision analytics for National Grid’s critical infrastructure; CNIGuard’s ruggedised sensors are deployed across New England to identify gas leaks prior to manhole explosion incidents; and Dragos is deployed across multiple business units to support the security of industrial control systems.

National Grid was also a founding member of Energy Impact Partners, a VC firm launched in 2015 to back companies optimising energy consumption and improving sustainable energy generation. NGP is also a LP in IQ Capital and Jerusalem Venture Partners.

Lambert sat on the board of directors of several portfolio companies, and she is also on the board of directors for the National Venture Capital Association, co-chair of the Venture Forward initiative and the founder, CEO and chair of Upward, a global network of executive women designed to accelerate career advancement.

GCV Powerlist 2020 PDF