Our Summer 2020 Climate Tech Interns

Each semester Clean Energy Ventures relies on several interns to support our diligence process and various investment and industry projects. Our recent cohort of interns for “The Summer of COVID-19” came from: the MassCEC internship program, one of CEV’s limited partners, and a fellowship program at the University of Virginia. The group has provided extraordinary input to our sector road mapping exercises, screening of new opportunities, and supporting our diligence of these opportunities. Our interns also developed an IP strategy for manufacturing in China and provided a Japanese market entry strategy for one of our portfolio companies.

2020 Summer Interns

Clean Energy Ventures and our sister organization Clean Energy Venture Group (CEVG) have been fortunate to have the opportunity to leverage the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) internship program extensively over the past five years. This program has provided us with highly qualified undergraduate and graduate students who have a passion for clean energy and addressing the climate crisis. Moreover, we’ve made it a priority to hire interns from diverse backgrounds which we have achieved through the MassCEC program.

For their roadmapping project, a team of four of our summer interns led a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) study to examine the technical, regulatory, commercial and financial issues that could lead to scaled adoption of V2G technologies and use of vehicles to provide a wide range of grid and behind the meter services. Our interns reached out to key experts in this market, conducted research, created and tested a thesis, all of which culminated in their organization of a road table discussion with internal CEV and CEVG staff as well as the outside experts. The learning and direction that resulted from this has provided direct input to our investment thesis.

We want to thank our interns for the exceptional value they brought to CEV and CEVG this past summer. As they move on from CEV and to the next steps of their climate tech journeys, we leave you with their own reflections on this past summer:

Kenny Kan

My experience at CEV is definitely one of the best. I did my internship through spring and summer and was impressed by how collaboratively and professionally each team member contributes to the due diligence process even after the pandemic hit the world. And most importantly, the network and ecosystem CEV and CEVG are creating across the country are incredibly strong. The amount of support and connection they can offer to portfolio companies is tremendous. I was fortunate enough to be able to involve in all kinds of projects and diligence deals throughout my internship and in a place where mentorship is valued, I was also able to sharpen my professional skills and expand my own professional network.

Janina Motter

My first day at CEV, one of the bi-weekly group meetings, felt like sitting in the front row watching Shark Tank. It was truly an exciting and humbling experience to be exposed to so many different companies and hear the team’s depth of expertise. Since then, I’ve been amazed at how skilled such a knowledgeable group is at asking questions, either by feigning ignorance to distill concepts into simple terms or by cutting to the heart of critical issues. I’m extremely grateful for the team’s willingness to help me learn about topics ranging from company valuation to evaluating IP and ancillary services. A few unique features about CEV and CEVG are likely to influence my path forward. Coming from a startup background, I’ve been struck by the level of rigor and systematized processes that CEV employs. This has included exposure to the due diligence process (including GHG and leadership assessments) and the OKR methodology. It has also been interesting to be directly confronted with the breakdown between what makes sense for an individual investment compared to a VC fund as companies have proceeded through evaluation (CEV and CEVG evaluate deals as a single team).What feels especially unique about this summer has been the opportunity to participate in increased efforts around Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. I’ve especially enjoyed the opportunity to help with some of the foundational work for the Browning the Green Space initiative (to be announced soon).

Tannya George

On Friday of the first week into my internship at Clean Energy Ventures (CEV) through the MassCEC program, I finally met everyone together, those who worked with the company and my fellow interns, after work hours, over Zoom. Until the internship, I was new to the clean energy space and added to that, with the looming pandemic forcing all of us to work from home, I wasn’t sure what to expect going in. But that first Friday, I saw and heard the incredible team I would have the opportunity to intern with for the summer.

Three other interns and I were assigned a project to investigate whether or not there was an opportunity for early-stage climate tech venture capital companies to invest in the Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) space. We researched and delegated tasks amongst us each week, we were mentored and guided by our managers, encouraged to talk to and interview experts in the field and challenged to present our final findings. Through this project I’ve gained tremendously in knowledge of battery technologies, the electricity grid, market designs and regulations, all critical factors to addressing climate change, through the course of my internship here. Looking forward, I want to take the knowledge that I could’ve only gained here at CEV and at graduate school to India to address the dire need for electrification. I hope, though, I get as lucky to be a part of a team there like the team I got to be a part of here at CEV.

J.J. Massi

I had the honor and pleasure of working as a summer intern for Clean Energy Ventures (CEV) through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center internship program. The experience has helped me grow both personally and professionally. The mentorship, knowledge, and field exposure I received exceeded my expectations. Every team member, from the Managing Directors on down, treated me with the utmost respect, and empowered me to excel. I have complete respect and admiration for the team, their mission, and CEV as a whole. I am truly grateful for the privilege to join such an amazing organization.

During my time at CEV, I worked on a multitude of projects and was encouraged to become involved in my areas of interest. As an engineering student focusing on solar technologies, I was elated to participate in the pipeline process of an innovative solar glass company. I gained valuable insight into financials, leading-edge technologies, and the aggregate of the diligence process early-stage companies in clean energy undergo to secure venture funds. I participated in a research team that explored the development of Vehicle-Grid-Integration under the mentorship of the Director of Investments. As a major project, we had the opportunity to thoroughly research the space, understand the technologies, interview over a dozen third parties currently involved, and present our findings in order to gauge the level of venture investment potential.

This internship has taught me so much about the multi-faceted clean energy field. I am proud of the work that I have done here and my contribution to CEV and my field. The experience, the connections, and the mentorship I received are invaluable. I highly recommend an internship with Clean Energy Ventures and I would be ecstatic to work with this company again.

Mizuhiko Fujie

During the summer, I have experienced a wide range of VC businesses at CEV, including (1) conducting Due Diligence of applicant startups, (2) facilitating collaboration between CEV portfolio companies and Asian energy companies, and (3) analyzing business opportunities related to the vehicle-to-gird (V2G) technology.

The highlight of my internship experience at CEV was a roundtable discussion for the V2G project. We have interviewed 14 experts by leveraging CEV connections and invited 7 guests to the roundtable to explore opportunities in the new technology. At the roundtable, I was honored to moderate the discussion. It was challenging but invaluable experience especially for an international intern like me, to handle communication flow and to bring out insights from the experts. I’m so grateful to CEV for giving me an opportunity. I also do appreciate the team members with great diversity. While our internship was fully remote, we have closely collaborated and enjoyed this group project a lot. Hope we can catch up in person soon!

Thanks to experience at CEV, I’m now confident about continuing my career track on energy finance and working in an international environment. Once again, thank you for an excellent three months.

Jack Larkin

Over my time at CEV this summer, I have had an incredible opportunity to work with some brilliant and wonderful folks learning about some fascinating technologies poised to make a significant global impact on climate change and tackling tough problems and in the VC space. CEV was equally willing to provide a learning environment and allow opportunities for interns to create value with projects that the rest of CEV actively and intelligently participated in. I spent much of my summer researching intellectual property protection strategies for companies entering China, interviewing operators and lawyers in the space and pulling together a longer-form report that will be bolstered by further conversations happening after I leave. I will be walking away from the experience having gained great exposure to the venture and climate tech fields, an increased technical knowledge and comfort around advanced technologies, a better sense of identifying and clarifying assumptions, how to leverage networks, and how to identify and mitigate personal biases: all traits that the folks I worked with this summer exemplified, and all of which I really admire.

Pia Panero

I joined CEVG this summer as an intern because of my strong passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainability, though I’d never worked in clean energy or venture capital before. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and learn as much as I could.

The team here is impressive, and even though everyone is busy all the time, they set aside time to speak with me, guide me through my objectives, and have helped me overcome any obstacles or challenges.

What I enjoyed the most was that the interns here have the chance to choose the due diligence projects they want to be part of, so we had the opportunity to learn specifically in areas of personal or professional interest. Also, there was no limit on my level of involvement, and I could go as deep into diligence as I liked. The CEV team encouraged us to have ownership over our projects, and to get involved in multiple projects. For me, that was very exciting and it gave me the chance to roll up my sleeves and build a financial model and analysis that I hadn’t done before. I learned many things that I had not expected.

I really enjoyed this internship experience and would recommend it for someone eager to learn and eager to meet some amazing, well-connected people that you know you can count on to expand your knowledge around clean energy and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

If you’re interested in being a future intern for CEV, follow us on LinkedIn and we highly recommend applying to the MassCEC Internship Program, where we often source strong interns from.