On Thursday, Raj Atluru announced that he was stepping down as a managing director with Draper Fisher Jurvetson, where he served as a key cleantech investor since 2001. He will join a private equity group that invests in later-stage clean energy companies, Silver Lake Kraftwerk, which was formed earlier in 2011 by Silver Lake Partners and Soros Fund Management, led by Adam Grosser.
Atluru took board positions at six of DFJ’s cleantech portfolio companies and will maintain seats on some of these, according to a managing director at DFJ in Menlo Park, Josh Stein. He also noted:
“Silver Lake Kraftwerk addresses something of a gap in cleantech investing. Our cleantech investments at DFJ are generally early stage, say two to ten million series A to C rounds. When these companies start to scale they need big checks, on the order of fifty to $100 million, to sustain them. Raj will be on a very short list of people we call when some of our portfolio cleantech companies reach that point.
We’re not likely to fund a billion dollar plant. We will continue to do a broad range of cleantech deals but at that earlier stage. It is good to have another platform out there that can write those big checks, led by someone we know and who knows our portfolio. I am certain we will do deals together.”
Six of DFJ’s ten managing directors (not including Alturu) invest in cleantech companies also, and the fund did not make any major changes to personnel or its investment strategy as a result of Atluru’s move. DFJ’s cleantech investments include about 40 portfolio companies today, and a range of well-known brands in clean energy and consumer green technology: Good Guide, EnerNOC, Solar Junction, Tesla, BrightSource and Solar City among them.