FRANKFURT, Feb 5 (Reuters) - RWE plans to set up a new venture capital fund of as much as 130 million euros ($146 million), Germany's second-largest utility said on Friday, adding cooperation with start-ups was a key pillar to its future strategy.
"There are many clever start-ups prepared to crunch the numbers for anything you may need, but we have the customers - all 23 million of them - and we know what they want," CEO Peter Terium said following a visit to Silicon Valley.
Terium said in a statement that RWE also planned to invest $15 million in a "reputable venture capital fund" in the United States with a focus on green technologies, without elaborating further.
RWE, which spends a low triple-digit million euro amount on innovation, research and development every year, has already invested in start-ups through its 115 million euro Innogy Renewables Technology Fund I.
The utility, which is currently in the process of splitting off its healthy assets to escape a structural crisis in the power sector, said it would introduce the products of U.S. start-up Bidgely to Germany, including an app which lets you keep control over which household appliances use most energy.
$1 = 0.8921 euros Reporting by Christoph Steitz