If there is a cleantech investing renaissance, or cleantech 2.0, coming, I’d bet on the growing team at Silver Lake Kraftwerk to find it. According to Dan Primack at Fortune , private equity firm Silver Lake has recruited former Draper Fisher Jurvetson cleantech venture capitalist Raj Atluru to join its new cleantech fund, Silver Lake Kraftwerk.
In February, Silver Lake announced it was launching what will likely be a sizable ($1 billion says Primack) clean energy fund with investment from billionaire investor George Soros. The fund will be led by former Foundation Capital Partner Adam Grosser, Cathy Zoi (formerly the Obama administration’s acting under-secretary for energy and assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy) and reportedly Atluru and Martin Fichtner, formerly with Elevation Partners. (I’ll be interviewing Grosser and Zoi on stage at Green:Net on April 21 next week in San Francisco. Register here).
At Foundation, Grosser worked on investments in firms like Silver Spring Networks and EnerNOC, and he is the only investor I put on this list of Top 15 Smart Grid Influencers back in mid-2009. At the DOE, Zoi has had a prime spot to observe and connect with a multitude of energy startups.
Atluru has been leading DFJ’s cleantech investments since 2001, and he sits on the boards of startups like CoalTek, Great Point Energy, Konarka, and Scientific Conservation. Primack reports that it seems like Atluru wanted to go one way in cleantech and fund companies looking to bridge the commercialization gap, while DFJ wanted to focus its cleantech investments more on where cleantech meets IT.
If that’s the case, Atluru’s ambitions fit right in with the goals of Silver Lake Kraftwerk. Grosser told me earlier this year that Silver Lake Kraftwerk will likely focus more on scaling some of the already proven cleantech innovations past the so-called Valley of Death, and will be far more global in scale. Silver Lake, in partnership with billionaire investor George Soros, spent the past 18 months reviewing what had worked and what hadn’t for cleantech investing, and has been developing an investment thesis. What the team has learned is: 1) focus on growth scale financing, and 2) go global.