The trend of technology gurus coming to greentech from IT is well established. But now it looks like the industry – and particularly its investment firms – is pulling in talent from government ranks as well.
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore -- star of “The Inconvenient Truth,” Nobel laureate and a partner with venture-capital company Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and equity firm Generation Investment Management – is perhaps the most famous example.
William K. Reilly, former head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, also is a founding partner of Aqua International Partners, a private-equity fund that invests in water and renewable-energy companies, and an equity investor at the Texas Pacific Group who helped broker the TXU buyout last year that effectively scrapped eight of the company’s 11 proposed coal plants.
More news this week has beefed up the trend.
R. James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and an advocate of distributed generation, has joined VantagePoint Venture Partners as a venture partner and senior adviser (see Green Light and Earth2Tech posts). Woolsey has supported biofuels, solar power and electric cars, among other technologies (see The Fuel of the Future?).
And Merriman Curhan Ford (NSDQ: MERR) announced Wednesday that it has hired Timothy Newell, a former President Clinton technology adviser, to head its new CleanTech Strategy Group and oversee the environmental markets part of its asset-management group.
Newell made the switch from government work to private investing years ago, and has been a partner with Draper Fisher Jurvetson’s affiliate fund, DFJ Element, a managing director at investment bank EOffering and a founder of New Resource Bank.
Merriman Curhan Ford said it is raising money for its new CleanTech Strategy fund, but wouldn’t disclose the amount it expects to raise.