Updated: Amidst the exodus of generalist venture capitalists from cleantech investing, a new planned billion dollar cleantech fund has emerged: Inerjys. According to the Wall Street Journal solar entrepreneur Jigar Shah and cleantech investor Russell Pullan have joined Inerjys, which is in the process of raising $1 billion and was founded by entrepreneur Stephan Ouaknine in Montreal last year.
In a statement Inerjys says Shah will focus on “international renewable energy project strategy,” and Pullan will focus on “growth equity investments in clean technology firms.” Shah previously led the Carbon War Room, founded and led SunEdison, and led M&A and corporate strategy for BP Alternative Energy. Pullman previously founded and led the New Energy and Clean Technology Ventures group for Nomura International.
Part of the fund’s strategy will be to use funds to project finance technologies, which its equity arm also invests in, says the WSJ. So basically the firm will provide funds all the way from development stage to commercialization — which sounds like it would require really solid bets and also a lot of money. Inerjys says it will invest in “wind, sun, marine and biofuel power generation, energy storage, transmission and distribution, and smart-grid systems.”
Note that the fund is in the process of raising the billion dollars. Silver Lake’s Kraftwerk was also looking to raise a similar size fund for later stage investing, but I’m not sure how far it’s gotten to meet that fund raising goal. It’s a difficult fund raising environment for cleantech right now.
Update: Shah tells me in a phone call: “We think that cleantech companies at their core are still good investments. We think the way that the investment community has been investing in cleantech has been causing these bad outcomes. We want to try a different approach to investing to get better outcomes. We don’t think the companies themselves are bad, but the model that has been applied to cleantech has been a bad fit.”