The Investment Committee will assist Clean Energy Trust in making investments in high-potential cleantech startups from the Midwest. Clean Energy Trust operates a revolving, evergreen investment fund that has, to date, made over $3 million in seed investments in 19 companies from the Midwest.
“The Midwest has a deep reservoir of innovation assets, but promising cleantech startups still face difficulties securing the capital and business support they need to become successful,” commented Erik G. Birkerts, CEO of Clean Energy Trust. “Seed investments from Clean Energy Trust help address this issue and the experts on the Investment Committee help us determine how best to deploy this ‘lifeblood’ towards companies best positioned to deliver the double bottom-line benefits of financial return and positive environmental impact.”
Clean Energy Trust’s investment process utilizes the Clean Energy Trust Challenge platform to identify and source attractive early-stage investment opportunities. The Challenge combines an accelerator program and investment process to deploy up to $1 million annually in seed capital. Companies that receive investment become part of Clean Energy Trust’s portfolio and benefit from ongoing venture development programming, coaching, mentorship and engagement on business development and fundraising efforts.
Participating in the Challenge program is highly selective and securing investment is more so. This year there were nearly 100 applications. Each company was carefully vetted by a team of external evaluators and Clean Energy Trust staff before eight finalist companies were selected to present at the final Challenge event on May 9th, each competing to secure investment from a total pool of up to $1 million.
To ensure the most strategic investment decisions are made, the Clean Energy Trust Investment Committee is responsible for overseeing the investment process. Chaired by Keith Crandell—a Clean Energy Trust board member and Managing Partner of ARCH Venture Partners—the Investment Committee is comprised of experienced investors and cleantech sector experts.
Investment Committee Members Include:
- Keith Crandell – ARCH Venture Partners – Chair
- Sara Chamberlain – Energy Foundry
- David Danielson – Breakthrough Energy Ventures
- Rob Day – Spring Point Capital
- Kevin Deneen – Aster Capital
- Gerd Goette – Siemens Venture Capital
- Jeff Klunzinger – OS Fund
- Veery Maxwell – Energy Innovation
- Josh Posamentier – Congruent Ventures
- Ben Rogers – Broadscale Group
- Brian Tolliver – Schneider Electric
- Stephen Weiland – Caterpillar
The Investment Committee works in close collaboration with Clean Energy Trust staff to evaluate the prospective investment and to make final decisions. In the weeks before the final Challenge event, the Investment Committee conducts a thorough assessment of each company as it relates to the strength of the investment opportunity and the alignment with Clean Energy Trust’s mission of supporting the entrepreneurs leading the clean energy revolution. Ultimately, the Investment Committee makes the final investment recommendations that are announced at the concluding Challenge event.
The Midwest cleantech ecosystem is dramatically strengthened with the involvement of this eminent group, and their efforts further Clean Energy Trust’s vision of a thriving, frictionless ecosystem in the Midwest.