Silver Lake’s energy fund bucks cleantech freeze, keeps raising funds (thanks SolarCity)

While cleantech venture capital investing dropped in 2012, there’s still investors that believe putting money into innovation around energy and resource management will pay off. Silver Lake’s cleantech fund, Silver Lake Kraftwerk — which first launched back in February 2011 — has closed on $650 million of its planned $750 million fund, first reported by Dow Jones Venture Wire in June, and made public by an SEC filing last week (hat tip on the filing to GTM).
The private equity group had originally been shooting for a larger fund — potentially up to $1.2 billion — but the past two years have been pretty difficult for cleantech investors. Limited Partners (the groups that put money into venture and PE funds) have shied away from the space considerably. Silver Lake Kraftwerk is trying to do something a little different from the first wave of venture capital investing in cleantech: it’s trying to make larger bets on solid growth companies, and it’s willing to look internationally, particularly outside the U.S.
SolarCity NASDAQSo far it’s made two investments, and at least one has proven to be smart. Silver Lake Kraftwerk made an investment in solar panel installation company SolarCity in early 2012, and in late 2012 SolarCity went public at $9.25 per share price. The stock is now trading at $35.39 per share, according to morning trading on Monday. The other investment was in a German plastic recycling and processing company called Friedola Tech.
The fund is led by Adam Grosser, former Foundation Capital Partner who spearheaded that firm’s work in smart grid, and managing directors include Raj Atluru and Josh Raffaelli who did cleantech investments at Draper Fisher Jurvetson.