Early stage clean tech venture financing lives.

While financing early-stage clean tech ventures still presents many challenges, new fund-based continue to be established.   In recent months, I’ve seen three in Q1 of this year.   All are being by industry veterans, which bodes well for avoiding starry-eyed enthusiasm about get-rich quick returns.

Spring Lane Capital https://www.springlanecapital.com/ is providing debt capital in the form of “project pools” (typically, $15-30M initially) that own distributed assets on behalf of growing platform companies.  Their focus is on clean energy, as well as companies in the water, waste, and food industries.  These pools of capital will enable repeatable asset deployment by these companies under pre-arranged structures.  The committed pool of capital allows to offer their solution as an onsite service via long-term contracts instead of having to pay up front for the onsite systems themselves. For other companies we partner with, the pool of capital is used for building multiple smaller-scale production facilities.  An added linkage is Spring Lane’s willingness to support the platform companies themselves with additional corporate growth capital (typically about 10-20% of the size of the initial project pool).

Clean Energy Venture Fund http://cevf.com/  has a specific focus on clean energy.  They are looking for market changing clean energy innovations that can do something about global climate change.   The principals hail from a related angel investment platform, the Clean Energy Venture Group.  CEVG has extended seed capital and management expertise to a long list of early stage clean energy companies. The group is comprised of seasoned operating executives from the energy and environmental sectors.

And, Katie Fehrenbacher of GreenBiz reports this week on Congruent Ventures’ focus on sustainability investing.  Like Spring Lane, their ambit extends beyond clean energy also to include urbanization and mobility trends, food and agriculture, and industrial supply chain innovations.  They report already raising over $90 million and investments in nine start-ups.  http://www.congruentvc.com/


So, kudos to these teams.   May they enable not only more clean tech entrepreneurs but also more institutional capital with Bezos-like patience to take advantage of long-term opportunities in the once-in-a-century energy transition now underway.