The Green Rush: Prospects, Perils, and Opportunities with discussants Mike Biddle, Jennifer Fonstad, Dirk Michels, and John Woolard. This event is moderated by Ira Ehrenpreis.
This panel will discuss: Which green technologies will prove to be truly world-changing, which will be good investments, and which will turn out to be over-hyped? What government actions will have the greatest impact? Will funding continue to grow at the impressive rate experienced in the past 24 months or is another bubble set to burst? Where are the opportunities in the lower-tech side of clean tech including recycling, fuel cell membranes, green building, and conservation? Is there a downside to being green?- Churchill Club, sponsored by the Silicon Valley Bank and Ernst & Young
Mike Biddle is the Co-founder and CEO of MBA Polymers, a company focusing on expanding the research capabilities in the area of plastics recycling.
Ira Ehrenpreis is a General Partner with Technology Partners. He has been with the firm since 1996. Ira leads Technology Partners’ Cleantech investment practice, investing in Energy Technology, Water Technology, and Advanced Materials opportunities. Ira is a recognized leader in both the venture capital industry and the Cleantech sector, and in 2007, was named one of the “Top 50 Most Influential Men Under 45” by Details Magazine. In the venture community, Ira has served on the Board and Executive Committee of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and on the Board of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists (WAVC). He served as Chairman of the 2010 NVCA Annual Meeting. Ira also serves as the Co-Chairman of the VCNetwork, the largest and most active Bay Area venture capital organization. In the Cleantech sector, Ira has served on several industry Boards, including the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Advisory Committee (ERAC), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Advisory Council, the Clean-Tech Investor Summit (Conference Chairman in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012), Cleantech Venture Network (Past Chairman of Advisory Board), ACORE (American Council on Renewable Energy), Energy Investors Forum (Past Conference Chairman), Energy Venture Fair, and California Climate Change Advisory Board. He has also served on the Advisory Boards of the Southern California Tech Coast Alliance, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE), and the Comerica Venture Capital Advisory Board. Ira is also an active leader at Stanford University, where his contributions have included teaching the course on Venture Capital and serving on the Board of Visitors of Stanford Law School. Ira received his JD/MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Law School, where he was an Associate Editor of Stanford Law Review. He holds a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude. Technology Partners is a 27 year venture capital firm that has managed approximately $750 million of investment capital with current investments being made from Technology Partners Fund VIII. Technology Partners has invested in more than 100 companies in a variety of industries serving principally as a lead investor.
The firm invests approximately half of its capital into Cleantech companies and the other half into companies focused on the Life Sciences. For more information on Technology Partners, go to www.technologypartners.com.
Jennifer Fonstad is a Managing Director at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, having joined the firm in 1997. Ms. Fonstad has worked for 20 years with both large corporations and start-ups to help build their organizations. At Draper Fisher Jurvetson, her investments span a broad set of both technology and life sciences companies including Internet services, wireless networks, medical devices, cleantech, and nanotechnology. She brings strategic leadership and a strong network to bear as a member of the Board for her investments.
Prior to practicing law in California, Dirk Michels had been an attorney in Hamburg, Germany for several years. His primary practice areas are international business transactions, primarily in corporate, financing, licensing and intellectual property matters. Mr. Michels represents domestic and foreign, especially German, entities doing business in the United States and Europe. His practice focuses on primarily small and mid-cap companies in the information technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and renewable energy industries.
John co-founded Silicon Energy, one of the first successful clean tech companies, and was President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board from 1997 to 2003. Following Itron’s acquisition of Silicon Energy, John served as its Vice President of Software Solutions and subsequently the Vice President of Strategy and Business Development. Prior to BrightSource Energy, John was an Executive-in-Residence in VantagePoint Venture Partner’s CleanTech Group and remains a Venture Partner with the firm.
With over twenty years in the energy technology field, John has worked at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, PG&E, and Alpine Software. He is co-author of a patent for web-based Energy Management systems and has been a member of the executive sessions on National Energy Policy in Washington D.C. John is a Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and has served on the Board of the California Clean Energy Fund, the Tuolumne River Preservation Trust, and the Strategic Advisory Board for Xcel Energy.
John holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley, a Masters in Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia, and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Virginia.