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National Grid Partners Introduces New Leadership Structure and Sharpened Investment Focus to Accelerate Net Zero Progress

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New framework deepens relationship between the utility industry’s most active corporate venture investor and parent company National Grid to scale energy innovations faster.

LOS GATOS, Calif., Feb. 1, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — National Grid Partners (NGP), the corporate venture capital and innovation arm of one of the world’s largest utilities, today announced a streamlined leadership structure and refreshed investment focus to accelerate progress toward net zero and scale innovation across global energy networks.

Led by Steve Smith, recently appointed president of NGP, these efforts bring National Grid’s strategy, innovation and startup investing together under one umbrella. The new structure is designed to maximize impact and further build on the parent company’s transformational work to provide a clean, fair and affordable energy transition.

“Utilities must move faster to scale innovations that can slash emissions, support soaring energy demand and create the utility of the future,” said Smith, a veteran utility regulator and financial industry innovator who joined the British energy giant in late 2021 as group head of Strategy, Innovation and Market Analytics. “National Grid Partners already offers critical financial resources and expert advice to some of the most exciting companies in climate tech and beyond. Our new structure connects entrepreneurs even more closely with our world-class innovation teams to bring essential technologies to market at industry leading speed.”

The new structure will draw on the NGP team’s combined 225 years of venture investing and utility operations experience to help startups scale new technologies in months, not years. Smith has made the following appointments and promotions to lead this charge:

  • Vice President, Investments – Pradeep Tagare: With a decade-long track record in venture and startups – including 13 years at Intel Capital – Pradeep will run the investing function of National Grid Partners, identifying technologies poised to make the greatest impact on the energy transition. He previously had been Vice President, Corporate Venture Capital and will now lead NGP’s full investment team.
  • Vice President, Business Development – Brett Chandler: Brett has more than 14 years of experience bridging utility and startup cultures to embed innovation into utilities. His team engages startups with National Grid’s core business units to generate mutual strategic and financial value. Brett has served in this role in an acting capacity since early 2023.
  • Vice President, Innovation and Venture Acceleration – Gerard Kelly: A former startup founder and CEO, Gerard has helped design and oversee innovation projects across National Grid with the potential to generate more than $1 billion in impact over the next 10 years. He will now manage innovation and venture acceleration efforts across the U.S. and U.K., which includes overseeing the NextGrid Alliance, a first-of-its-kind network of more than 100 electric utilities around the world.

NGP also has sharpened its investment strategy to focus on four pillars. Derived from conversations with startup founders, utilities and other innovation leaders to identify the most pressing challenges in the clean energy transition, the pillars include:

  • Future Electric Networks: Upgrading and rebuilding the grid to boost renewable energy, increase reliability and meet new electric demand while reaching net-zero.
  • Customer First: Delivering solutions to help customers manage a fair and affordable energy transition.
  • Efficiency Through Innovation: Deploying artificial intelligence, cloud and edge computing, and other emerging technologies to improve operational performance.
  • Decarbonizing Gas: Delivering innovative technologies to reduce leakage and decarbonize our networks.

To integrate more closely with Silicon Valley, NGP is moving to Menlo Park’s celebrated Sand Hill Road, the global epicenter of the venture capital industry.

National Grid Partners has invested more than $400 million in 43 companies since its 2018 launch, with seven successful exits and an industry leading percentage of portfolio “unicorns” valued at more than $1 billion. The organization has been named the utility industry’s most active corporate venture investor by Bloomberg NEF, and it recently unveiled a unique evaluation framework for measuring the impact of its portfolio companies on carbon emissions.

In addition, NGP has delivered a step change to National Grid’s innovation strategy by introducing hundreds of startup technologies, identifying future challenges, and developing prototypes and business models to meet those challenges.

About National Grid Partners
National Grid Partners (NGP) is the venture investment and innovation arm of National Grid plc., one of the world’s largest investor-owned energy companies. NGP invests for strategic and financial impact across four pillars: Future Electric Networks; Decarbonizing Gas; Customer First; and Efficiency Through Innovation. By providing corporate venture capital, business development counsel and direct integration with National Grid’s innovation team, NGP is accelerating the energy transition and helping innovators reach critical scale faster. We also convene the NextGrid Alliance (www.ngalliance.energy), an innovation network of senior executives from more than 100 worldwide utility companies. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, NGP has offices in Boston, London, and New York. Visit ngpartners.com or follow us on Twitter (@ngpartners_) and LinkedIn.

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Sinotruk leaping forward to become world-class technology enterprise

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JINAN, China, March 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — On March 2, SinoTruk’s Science and Technology Innovation Award Annual Conference 2024 was grandly held, to recognize and rewarding major scientific and technological achievements and outstanding innovative talents since 2022, planning and deploying scientific and technological innovation work ahead. Tan Xuguang, Chairman and General Manager of Shandong Heavy Industry Group, Chairman of China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, attended the conference and delivered a report on scientific and technological innovative work – “Steadily stride forward, embracing change in science and technology”.

 

Over the past five years, Sinotruk has invested nearly RMB 15 billion in R&D, which is the sum of the previous 15 years. It has benchmarked against world-class standards and gradually established a full-process independent research and development system. Sinotruk technological strength has reached the forefront of the national industry. Sinotruk has reshaped the “Yellow River” heavy-duty trucks standard with technology, ranking first in China, and its high-tech indicators are leading the industry. The market share of heavy-duty trucks has increased from 16.5% in 2018 to 26% in 2023, ranking first in China for two consecutive years. In 2023, the export volume exceeded 130,000 vehicles for the very first time, a 2.6-fold increase compared to 5 years ago, making it the largest single-brand global export volume in the world.

Tan Xuguang called on all engineers to keep in mind their mission, be down-to-earth, persistent in innovation, and make long-term achievements through dedicated ten years of hard work. Learn from the global cooperation, grow and become talents through project training, and achieve through continuous value creation. Achieve your meaning in life, strive with vitality and passion while you are young. Let’s set off again for a better future for the century heavy truck industry and the world’s best heavy truck industry!

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Flash News: OKX Introduces Exclusive ‘Babylon Pioneer Pass Event’ in Collaboration with Babylon, Offering Free Pioneer Pass NFT Minting for the First 100,000 Users Who Stake on Babylon Testnet

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SINGAPORE, March 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — OKX, a leading Web3 technology company, has issued updates for March 2, 2024.

OKX Introduces Exclusive ‘Babylon Pioneer Pass Event’ in Collaboration with Babylon, Offering Free Pioneer Pass NFT Minting for the First 100,000 Users Who Stake on Babylon Testnet

OKX today announced the launch of its ‘Babylon Pioneer Pass Event,’ giving users who access the Babylon Testnet and stake any amount of Signet Bitcoin (sBTC) the opportunity to claim Babylon’s Bitcoin Pioneer Pass NFT. To qualify for a spot, users must access the Babylon Testnet and stake any amount of Signet Bitcoin (sBTC).

The event kicks off on February 28 and continues until March 6. Following the event, starting from March 7, participants who have been whitelisted will have the ability to mint their Bitcoin Pioneer Pass NFT using the OKX Wallet and their whitelisted address.

The process of participating in this event is straightforward and involves the following steps:

  1. Firstly, users will need to prepare by setting up their OKX and Keplr Wallets. These wallets will be crucial for interacting with the Babylon Testnet and the subsequent claiming of sBTC and BBN.
  2. Following the wallet setup, users can then claim the sBTC and BBN on Babylon’s Official Discord. These tokens will be needed for staking in the Babylon Testnet.
  3. Finally, users will need to access Babylon’s official website, where users can actively engage, stake their tokens and claim their whitelist spots.

Participation in the event offers a multitude of benefits. Users can engage actively with the Babylon Testnet, which in turn enhances their understanding of the Babylon protocol and its functionalities. Furthermore, participants contribute to the development and evolution of the Babylon protocol by being active users.

The ‘Babylon Pioneer Pass Event‘ is a result of OKX’s partnership with Babylon, a trustless Bitcoin staking protocol. The Bitcoin Pioneer Pass, Babylon’s first commemorative Non-Fungible Token (NFT), is a highlight of this event, representing a significant milestone for both OKX and Babylon.

For more information, please visit the OKX Support Center.

About OKX

A leading global technology company driving the future of Web3, OKX provides a comprehensive suite of products to meet the needs of beginners and experts alike, including:

  • OKX Wallet: The world’s most powerful, secure and versatile crypto wallet which gives users access to over 80 blockchains while allowing them to take custody of their own funds. The wallet includes MPC technology which allows users to easily recover access to their wallet independently, removing the need for traditional, ‘written down’ seed phrases. In addition, OKX Wallet’s account abstraction-powered Smart Account enables users to pay for transactions on multiple blockchains using USDC or USDT, and interact with multiple contracts via a single transaction.
  • DEX: A multi-chain, cross-chain decentralized exchange aggregator of 300+ other DEXs and approximately 15 bridges, with 200,000+ coins and more than 20 blockchains supported.
  • NFT Marketplace: A multi-chain, zero-fee NFT marketplace that gives users access to NFT listings across seven top-tier marketplaces including OpenSea, MagicEden, LooksRare and Blur.
  • Web3 DeFi: A powerful DeFi platform that supports earning and staking on about 70 protocols across more than 10 chains.

OKX partners with a number of the world’s top brands and athletes, including English Premier League champions Manchester City F.C., McLaren Formula 1, The Tribeca Festival, Olympian Scotty James, and F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo.

As a leader building innovative technology products, OKX believes in challenging the status quo. The company recently launched a global brand campaign entitled, The System Needs a Rewrite, which advocates for a new paradigm led by Web3 self-managed technology.

To learn more about OKX, download our app or visit: okx.com

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UnionPay International and The Tourism Organisation of Serbia Sign MOU to Enhance Tourist Payments and Promote Serbia as a Premier Destination

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BELGRADE, Serbia, March 1, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — UnionPay International, the leading global card scheme, has entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Tourism Organisation of Serbia (TOS). This strategic partnership aims to enhancing the payment experience for tourists and to further facilitate tourism growth in Serbia.

The MOU signing ceremony took place at Belgrade on 27th February 2024, marking the beginning of a collaborative effort between UnionPay International and TOS. The agreement outlines various areas of cooperation:

Jointly promoting Serbia as Travel Destination: Through optimised marketing resources, both parties aim to promote Serbia as tourist destination among UnionPay cardholders, with its rich cultural heritage and unique experiences, provide comprehensive tourism information and payment guides for the tourists visiting Serbia. UnionPay International aims to provide more diversified and convenient payment choices, and ensuring seamless payment experiences for travellers visiting the country.

Privileges and Benefits: The partnership will explore opportunities for preferential activities that bring additional benefits to UnionPay cardholders visiting Serbia. This approach aims to boost the attractiveness of the local tourism market and create a win-win situation for both parties.

Ms Bomee Sheng, Product Director of UnionPay International, expressed her enthusiasm about the collaboration, stating, “We are delighted to partner with The Tourism Organisation of Serbia to promote tourism and facilitate payment experiences in Serbia. Through this partnership, we aim to provide UnionPay cardholders with enhanced convenience and benefits, ultimately contributing to the growth of Serbia’s tourism industry.”

Ms Marija Labović, CEO of National Tourism Organisation of Serbia, commented, “This partnership with UnionPay International comes at an important time as we strive to become the most popular all year destination in the region.” She outlines Belgrade’s popularity and the diversity of attractions from city breaks to natural retreats and she is looking forward to the Expo 2027 in the capital, “By leveraging UnionPay’s global network and advanced payment solutions, we are confident that we can attract more visitors to Serbia and provide them with memorable experiences.”

In recent years, Serbia has emerged as one of the most attractive destinations for Chinese visitors. It is hailed as the “heart of the Balkans” and offers a unique blend of captivating landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Its visa-free entry policy, coupled with the exceptional acceptance coverage of UnionPay cards, has played a significant role in attracting Chinese tourists. With over 90% of local merchants and ATMs supporting UnionPay payments and withdrawals, travellers can enjoy seamless payment experiences across various sectors, including retail, dining, hotels, gas stations, toll stations, and tourist attractions.

About The Tourism Organisation of Serbia (TOS)

The Tourism Organisation of Serbia (TOS) was formed under the Law on Tourism of 1994 as the institution in charge of promoting Serbian tourism in domestic and foreign markets, as well as performing other duties relevant for the development of communication and advertising activities in Serbian tourism. The activities of TOS are focused on positioning Serbia’s tourism products in domestic and foreign markets and exploring Serbia’s comparative advantages in terms of tourism, including its geostrategic position and its historical, cultural and natural identity.

About UnionPay International

UnionPay International focuses on the international business of UnionPay, a global payment network that serves the world’s largest cardholder base. Collaborating with over 2,600 partners globally, UnionPay acceptance now reached to 183 countries and regions. Outside the Chinese Mainland, UnionPay is accepted at nearly 67 million merchants and 1.7 million ATMs.

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