The Illinois Clean Energy Innovation Fund (ICEIF), administered by Clean Energy Trust (CET), makes direct investments in high-potential, early-stage, Illinois-based cleantech companies in order to support innovative entrepreneurship and to create jobs in the cleantech sector here in Illinois. The ICEIF provides critical funding where capital is often scarce. ICEIF was seeded by grant funds from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and overseen by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
ICEIF is structured as a revolving investment fund: capital returned to the fund upon a liquidity event (when a company is acquired or goes public) or repayment is used to replenish the fund for future investments and fund administration. This structure is known as an “evergreen” funding model that can self-sustain into the future and continue to provide much-needed capital to promising cleantech ventures here in Illinois.
To date, the ICEIF has invested a total of $2.7 million in 9 Illinois-based companies, who have gone on to raise tens of millions dollars in follow-on investments and current employ over 100 people.
Investment Decision Process
Investment decisions for ICEIF are made in conjunction with CET’s annual investment process. Companies apply for funding and CET conducts a thorough process by which companies are evaluated by external experts and diligenced by CET staff. Companies under consideration are reviewed by and meet with CET’s Investment Committee, which is comprised of 12 independent investors.
The Investment Committee is charged with ensuring that ICEIF recognizes maximum value from the investment funds deployed and relies on rigorous analysis presented by CET staff, outlining the risks and market potential of the investment decision.
Companies must be based in Illinois and have market-ready products or services in the cleantech space, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, water resource management, next-generation transportation, alternative fuels, and smart grid technologies.
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