Mar 242011

March 23, 2011 source: Building 43 Videos – Robert Scoble interview

“… Very little has changed since 1979-1980 in energy [management]…” Nat Goldhaber (1′ 30″ into video)

Much of the technology-related startup news today is focused on companies in the social media or Internet application spaces. Today, however, we are meeting with Claremont Creek Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in, among others, early stage cleantech and healthcare companies.

“One of the things that distinguishes us from a lot of other VCs that are investing in this area is that we are really very early stage,” explains Nat Goldhaber, Managing Director at Claremont Creek Ventures. “When we see a technology that attracts us, we’ll go in and put in a relatively small amount of money, work with the entrepreneur, get it to a stage where it has really demonstrated the technology and it’s time to bring on the mature management team, if they don’t have one, and then go out and raise a full A round with other investors. We call that our life cycle venturing program, and we do that fairly often.”

We spoke with Goldhaber about a wide array of companies in which they have invested. Among those is Alphabet Energy, which is focused on converting heat into electricity. Imagine taking the heat generated from an hybrid automobile’s exhaust manifold and converting that into electricity which feeds the battery and extends the range of the vehicle. Alphabet Energy is working to make that possible.

Another is Sentilla, which has developed sensors that provide demand-side energy management solutions for data centers, commercial and industrial facilities. “With a very small number of sensors, they can determine which portions of the data center are not producing as many bits as they need to, allowing them to tell the data center managers which computers ought to be replaced with more sophisticated computers without increasing the air conditioning demand or having to build a whole new center,” says Goldhaber. “They put in a few sensors and now all of a sudden there’s a whole new level of understanding of what’s going on inside the data center than has existed previously.”

From hybrid cars to thermoelectronics and just about everything in between, Claremont Creek Ventures is looking to identify and nurture information technology’s next great business ideas.

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