The Impact of Patient Capital and the Power of Venture Capital

On July 10, Cleantech Navigate Northeast held its second Investor and Corporate Partner Readiness webinar of 2018, ”The Impact of Patient Capital and the Power of Venture Capital.” The webinar explored the most appropriate source of capital, whether patient or venture, for startups at each stage of their lifecycle. Speakers included Johanna Wolfson from PRIME Impact Fund, John Santoleri from the Clean Energy Venture Group (CEVG), and Jiong Ma from Braemar Energy Ventures. Derek Lim Soo, CEO of Peak Power, a US and Canadian startup, also joined the webinar to share his experience raising capital.

Following brief introductions, Johanna discussed what the PRIME Impact Fund can offer. Deep hardware based companies have a difficult time raising capital through traditional venture capital groups. PRIME looks to close that gap with philanthropic capital to better bridge these companies into venture investing. Philanthropic capital is special in that it usually does not have a requirement for a return, and it is almost infinitely patient.

CEVG, John Santoleri explained, seeks to help companies that are too early for traditional venture investing, mostly through mentoring. The firm, which consists of 30 active investors working primarily in Boston and New York, works with these young companies to make sure that they have a place in the cleantech market.

Next, Jiong Ma from Braemar Energy Ventures spoke about the Braemar’s investment strategy and the criteria that Braemar uses when looking for companies. While their investments vary across stages and sectors, five company qualities are necessary for potential venture investment and overall success: strong leadership team, product that stands out – both in the market and legally, strong technical talent, the ability to take advantage of commercial markets, and the ability to execute financially.

Lastly, Derek Lim Soo from Peak Power shared his experience with raising capital in a unique case study. He discussed Peak Power’s history and gave a shortened version of his pitch to investors to provide entrepreneurs with a good example to follow. Derek left attendees with three key takeaways for  searching for capital: keep your message brief and simple, target the various types of funding differently and specifically, and make sure that your business aligns with the investor that you are appealing to for funding.

To view recordings of all the webinars in the series, check out our playlist here.

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Dylan d'Souza

Dylan is NECEC's summer 2018 Cleantech Navigate Northeast Intern.