Over a year of fundraising, 5 investments, $150M under management, and a lot of lessons along the way

After over a year of fundraising and 5 investments, we are very proud to launch Energize Ventures

Energize Ventures
September 25, 2018

We are investing in digital solutions that make energy more affordable, reliable, and secure.

By optimizing today’s power infrastructure and equipment, we believe we can drive greater system efficiency to make renewable energy the default generation choice now and into the foreseeable future.

The year was 2016

that’s when Michael Polsky, Founder & CEO of Invenergy (one of the world’s leading renewable energy developers) and Jim Murphy, president & COO of Invenergy, approached me to create a fund to tackle the future of energy.

I got to work & quickly hired the best team I could find.

Along the way, our team has embraced certain credos amongst ourselves and with our investors and entrepreneurs that have come to define our mission and approach.

To help illustrate what we are all about, I wanted to share a few of our credos.

If you are an entrepreneur in the energy industry and these resonate with you, let’s talk.

We codified credos that not only defined our differentiations and our unique value, but that also further aligned our investors and entrepreneurs to our mission and approach

1) Diversity drives alpha

2) Speeding tickets, not parking tickets

3) Fortune favors the prepared mind

4) The meaning of life is that it stops

1) Diversity drives alpha

We were deliberate about assembling a team of people from diverse ethnic, gender, and professional backgrounds.

Why? Because diversity drives alpha.

Our small but mighty fund team of seven is woman-led, has more women than men, and is represented by diverse ethnicities. Our investment portfolio to date includes two companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, one from the Midwest, one from Texas, and one founded in Italy. Our deal pipeline contains an equal number of companies based in and outside Silicon Valley. We want to invest in at least one portfolio company led by a female CEO.

Diversity of thought does not stop there.

Our limited partners also represent diverse expertise across the energy industry, including perspectives from a developer (Invenergy), equipment partners (General Electric, Schneider Electric), utilities (WEC Energy, MGE Energy), industrial partners, and an esteemed group of families, foundations and endowments, some of whom invested for environmental impact.

It will take strength from many places to transform the power sector from centralized fossil and nuclear generation to distributed renewable energy. In addition to a diverse team, we are very fortunate to borrow broad technological and business perspectives from these limited partners as a critical value-add to our venture investing approach.

2) Speeding tickets, not parking tickets

Us? We’d rather move too quickly than sit still.

Does that mean we’re not diligent and deliberate? Of course not. But as a new fund, we know we must play to our strengths of speed and agility to compete for deals.

We harness the boundless energy of our team into positive, decisive action, but also the streamlined decision-making process of our three-person investment committee.

Our team is comprised of mental and physical athletes — most of the fund team played sports in college — that bring a competitive, can-do energy to work.

In order to transform energy in our lifetime, we know we will have to move fast and decisively.

3) “Fortune favors the prepared mind”

— Louis Pasteur

As we have set about proving our investment thesis, we continually cross-reference against market changes, operators and entrepreneurs, competitors, reporters, professors, and mentors.

We read voraciously, attend conferences, tour incubators and laboratories, and debate regularly. We have been collating our ideas into a series of “deep dives” that we share with our limited partners and our advisors.

Developing our own proprietary research helps us approach an investment opportunity with a strong point of view.

We build a market map of a vertical or opportunity, then update it with exits and failures. When we make an investment, we try to secure a co-investment opportunity for our limited partners to invest alongside the fund, relying upon our deep dives to help us all collectively move forward.

That said, we know that success in entrepreneurship and venture is difficult to achieve. We want to tip the scales in our favor as much as possible. A prepared mind enables us to invest with conviction.

4) “The meaning of life is that it stops”

— Franz Kafka

Put a lighter way by George Strait, “I’m here for a good time, not a long time”

We are very grateful to Invenergy, who anchored our first close, and our other investors who committed to launching Energize Ventures with us. Invenergy continues to be an essential resource to the fund team and our companies.

Our mission is all about our portfolio companies and we thank them for inviting us to partner with them.

Our fund aims to deliver a venture return to our investors first and foremost, and if we do our job right, we will also move the needle on making renewable energy the best economic choice of the future.

There is no time to waste, we want to see transformation in our lifetime for the benefit of our kids and grandkids.

We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity ahead,

and we commit to work alongside our CEOs to win customers, refine products and business models, and to raise capital.

Onwards and upwards!