The term “intern” is probably misleading. The team members who join our vc internship program are critical to our operations, providing support for due diligence, company screening, strategic roadmapping and more. This spring, like the seasons before it, has brought us a collection of experienced, sharp business people looking to gain experience in clean energy, climate tech and venture capital, while lending us their diligent work ethic and smart minds.
Each semester, 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 to source candidates for our climate tech VC internship program. This program brings us highly qualified graduate and undergraduate students who have a passion for clean energy and fixing climate change. Hiring interns from diverse backgrounds and geographies is also something that’s important to our organization as we try to diversify the talent and perspectives in this industry; the MassCEC program has helped us discover interns that can add to our own diversity each semesteer.
We wouldn’t be able to find, invest and mentor our current volume of companies without our intern team. Thank you for a productive spring, and even though no one was physically in the office we’ll miss seeing your faces!
Hear from some of our interns directly about their experience this semester in our VC internship program:
It was a very quick 0 to 100 for me at CEV, something I found thrilling and enjoyable. Not one week into my joining date, I completed an investment thesis and landscape analysis for alternative sustainable fuels and presented it to the stellar Senior Advisory Board. Throughout my time, I was exposed to all aspects of cleantech venture capital – fundraising, investment diligence and term-sheet development.
The culture is very inclusive – not once did anyone make me feel under-qualified for a given role in the firm, which I most certainly was – coming in from a university. I felt really valued in any meeting that I was a part of, and was evaluated as a peer to an employee. My mentor, Jeff Weiss, was phenomenal in every possible way. He and I worked together closely to diligence a variety of companies, ranging from energy storage to sustainable materials. All three partners, Dan, Dave and Temple, as well as the technical director, Lou were readily available to help on short notice about any topic that I needed help with.
The highlight of my internship was the ability to lead the entire technical diligence pipeline for two companies over a span of 12 weeks, in additional to supporting screening, diligence and pipeline support for 5+ other startups. One of the two companies I led, translated into a sizeable investment from the company.
I would recommend the program to anyone interested in early-stage cleantech venture capital. The accessible and inclusive work culture, great knowledge pool and amazing people in the team make it a well-rounded experience.
My internship took place during my final spring semester of school, and it was probably one of the most eye-opening internships I have had. I went into the internship not really knowing what to expect from a job with a venture capital firm, especially since I didn’t have much of a finance background, but everyone in the firm and group was more than willing to help me learn and answer any questions I had. That made a big difference throughout my time at CEV. Whether it was sitting in on the Bi-Weekly company pitches or participating in due diligence meetings, I never felt uncomfortable asking a question or like I was just an intern.
During this internship, I was able to apply the technical skills I learned through engineering and also learn and apply techno-economic analysis techniques that I never had before. My project involving Long Duration Energy Storage required these techniques, and I had to ask a lot of questions while working on this project. It was challenging, but also very rewarding. It brought me out of a purely technical and scientific mindset and made me consider what it actually takes for a great technological idea to become a successful product.
Harvard Business School
My spring internship at CEV was a great way to learn about venture capital in the cleantech space. I enjoyed learning about new technologies while mapping out different sectors and applying my technical background to the business side of things while supporting a portfolio company. The team at CEV was wonderful to work with and I’m sure I will cross paths again in the future.
University of Chicago (Booth)
My internship with Clean Energy Ventures over the winter and spring was exactly what I’d hoped for – an opportunity to learn directly from a team of uniquely accomplished clean energy investors that included experiencing the full breadth of screening, diligence, direct portfolio support, and thesis development. My highlights of the vc internship were the weekly pipeline meetings and being charged with leading creation of a 15-page primer on best practices in non-equity financing for climate tech startups.
While I had worked previously on cleantech equity investments at the Clean Energy Trust VC and indirectly through the Cleantech Open, my work during the internship was my first deep dive into non-equity funding options for climate tech startups.
As the climate tech sector matures and attracts expanding investor interest, founders and investors are leveraging more sophisticated approaches and additional financial products, including venture debt and project finance, already used by startups in other sectors, such as information technology and biopharmaceuticals. The expanded use of varied financial products will allow founders to retain more equity, better weather unexpected crises, and use existing capital more efficiently. In the process of creating the primer, I was aided by generous industry leaders who gave their time for interviews at Spring Lane Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, JP Morgan, Birch Infrastructure, Energy Impact Partners, Energetic Insurance, and REsurety, among others. The final product is a primer that will be a continuing resource for new and existing portfolio companies of Clean Energy Ventures.
It was a fascinating and deeply rewarding internship. I’d strongly recommend the opportunity to anyone who is offered the chance to work with the CEV team.