January 21, 2010
On August 8, 1995, I looked at my Bloomberg terminal on the trading floor at Sandler O’Neill & Partners and saw the pricing of the IPO for Netscape Communications, the now infamous web browser company. At the time, I knew nothing of the Web, much less a browser. What I did know was that the company had not yet shown a profit, yet somehow was being valued at $1 billion. I wanted to do some research on the firm, but in the ultimate spirit of irony, I didn’t even have the Internet to learn more about them. This was 1995, after all.
It was an opportunity that I didn’t recognize at the time, but one of many like it that would change the investment landscape forever. Today, similar opportunities abound in the renewable energy space, and we are here to seize them. And, much like in the Internet era, there will be many winning companies and many losing companies.
Fast-forward to 2007… Crude oil prices were on their way to $147; “energy security” was the buzz phrase from the now famous 2008 presidential campaign; Senators John Warner and Joe Lieberman were drafting a comprehensive bill to address climate change; my home state of New Jersey was moving to the forefront of solar power; even Delaware approved legislation for the construction of offshore wind power; and large institutional investors and corporations were talking about the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyoto_Protocol). That’s when I started looking at renewable energy and clean tech investment opportunities.
For the last two-and-half plus years, I’ve spoken to countless experts, academics, lawmakers and investors of every ilk on renewable energy. I’ve participated in conferences from Wall Street to Capitol Hill, from Silicon Valley to the United Nations. Our research led us to start a dedicated renewable energy hedge fund of funds, called TerraVerde Capital Partners, which allocates to a broad focus of trusted niche hedge fund managers involved in this space.
In this blog, I’ll discuss some of the clean-tech issues that I find interesting in today’s world. Our investment philosophy is agnostic, and I leave the politics at the doorstep before reaching an investment conclusion. One fact though is undeniably clear – renewable energy is here to stay, and is growing fast, in very much the same fashion we witnessed with the Web in the mid 90s. The key difference being that we get it this time. We see the benefit. We see the opportunity.
I hope that you’ll return here frequently for my dispatches on opportunities in the clean-tech, renewable energy, green investment space, along with other related issues – good and bad. I’m new to blogging so don’t expect me to launch a podcast anytime soon, but I promise to be an active blogger and look forward to sharing my ideas and thoughts.