President Barack Obama isn’t the only one who thinks cleantech entrepreneurs have a big role to play in rebuilding the U.S. economy. Redpoint Ventures seems to agree — and it’s betting that a deeper understanding of technologies for clean energy generation, storage and efficiency will help it capitalize on the opportunity. The venture capital firm has just brought Nety Krishna, former CTO of semiconductor giant Applied Materials (s AMAT), on board to serve as CTO of its energy and materials practice.
Redpoint tells us Krishna, a physicist, will be working with entrepreneurs to develop and scale innovations that “have the potential to significantly impact the economics of energy industries over the long term,” seeking out a range of energy investments and getting chummy with top scientists.
It’s a new position at Redpoint and a sign of the firm’s plan to dig deep into energy technologies for large-scale applications and lower costs. Krishna said in a release from the company, “Energy and environment issues are becoming mission-critical for a variety of industrial sectors. As a result, there are tremendous opportunities for creative solutions and innovative business models to address these global growth and climate challenges.”
While its better known for investing in web companies like Ask.com and MySpace, Redpoint also moved early on to back solar panel maker Solyndra, which impressed the Department of Energy enough to win it the first loan guarantee offer under a much-delayed program last week. Redpoint’s effort to develop more expertise in ramping up manufacturing and driving down production costs for clean energy could be a boon to Solyndra, which has pledged to do just that with its $535 million loan guarantee.