Private equity firm Silver Lake’s first foray into energy and cleantech investing is gonna be a big one. According to a filing, Silver Lake Kraftwerk is raising a $1.25 billion fund and has closed a little over $200 million of it. The fund, announced back in February, was expected to be large, and Silver Lake had teamed up with billionaire George Soros for it.
The second half of 2011 hasn’t been a particularly easy time for raising a cleantech fund, thanks to macroeconomic conditions and a backlash against cleantech investments in the U.S. Silver Lake Kraftwerk has another almost $1 billion to close. Khosla Ventures has also managed to raise another billion dollar cleantech fund this year.
Silver Lake Kraftwerk has been able to put together a sort of cleantech dream team, bringing on Adam Grosser from Foundation Capital, Raj Atluru from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Cathy Zoi, who was formerly the Department of Energy’s second in command under Steven Chu. More of the team is now listed on the Silver Lake Kraftwerk site, including Bryce Lee from Credit Suisse, Martin Fichtner from Elevation Partners, and Josh Raffaelli from Draper Fisher Jurvetson.
Grosser and Silver Lake’s Managing Director Greg Mondre told me in an interview earlier this year they think a cleantech “renaissance” is coming. That second wave — or Cleantech 2.0 — will likely be more focused on private equity, will look to scale some of the already proven innovations past the so-called Valley of Death, and will be far more global in scale, said the partners.
The Silver Lake Kraftwerk team spent a year looking at what had worked and what hadn’t in cleantech investing and are trying to create a new investment thesis, including: 1) focus on growth scale financing; and 2) go global.