Raj Atluru of Silver Lake Kraftwerk, an investor in SolarCity and longtime Silicon Valley venture capitalist, will be speaking next week about Sand Hill Road's relationship with cleantech and looking forward to new ways of tackling this trillion-dollar industry.
One of the themes of the day-long event is innovating in the channel to the customer. Atluru's investment in the now-public and thriving SolarCity is a great example of innovating in energy through the channel to the customer -- along with a healthy dose of IT and CRM.
Atluru joined Silver Lake in 2011 and is a managing director. Silver Lake Kraftwerk is keen on firms that "leverage technology and business model innovation to improve energy efficiency, reduce waste and emissions, harness renewable energy, and more efficiently use natural resources." We reported on the investment firm's $653 million fund last month.
Atluru noted, "At the highest level, the perception is that the floor has fallen away from the cleantech sector." But he'll be presenting data that shows a much smaller drop in VC investment in the sector than in previous tech bubbles. Despite some pessimism and "the loss of some investors who toyed with the sector," Atluru notes the success of SolarCity, Control4, Silver Spring Networks, Tesla, and Enphase, as well as "a rotation" in the sector toward software and services.
He said, "The macro trend lines in energy haven't changed much." Atluru thinks that we're going to continue to see more “tweaking in the way energy gets to and is consumed by the customer," adding, "That's where we think there's value."
Meet limited partners, VC investors, and cleantech entrepreneurs at the event this week. Register here.