MIT Sloan Interview: How to succeed in clean energy investing by really trying

(by Meredith Somers, MIT Sloan)

Clean Energy Venture Group has invested in 39 companies since its start in 2005, and those companies have earned more than $500 million in follow-on investments from large venture capital firms and major energy companies. It counts businesses like energy software company MyEnergy — which was acquired by Nest (now part of Google) in 2013 — in its portfolio.

Not bad for an investment group that joined a high-risk industry just before the 2007-2009 recession — more than 90% of clean tech companies funded after 2007 failed to return initial capital.

The private investment group, with offices in Boston and New York City, invests in early stage clean energy startups. It was founded by Daniel Goldman and David Miller, PhD ’07. In 2017, Goldman, Miller, and Temple Fennell, MBA ’14, started spinout fund Clean Energy Ventures. Clean Energy Ventures announced on Oct. 15 the close of a $110 million venture fund. The fund focuses on first-round investments in clean energy technology startups.

In an interview, Goldman and Miller shared insight into what they look for before investing in a company, what they avoid, what’s worked inside their own organization, and more.