My Clean Break column today is a mini-profile of Alan Salzman, the CEO of VantagePoint Venture Partners and, I should add, a fellow Torontonian. Salzman, who did his undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto (University College) decided in the early 1980s to lay roots in California so he could join the “entrepreneurial wave of innovation” that would evolve into Silicon Valley. In 1996, after a number of successes as a venture capitalist under his belt, Salzman co-founded VantagePoint and has proved a key player in the success of many high-tech, Internet and biotech companies. His big focus today, however, is cleantech. VantagePoint has funded Tesla Motors, Miasole, BrightSource, Better Place and a number of other promising cleantech ventures. Salzman talks about his decision to go big with cleantech, trends that are driving transformation of the energy and transportation sectors, and how the current global economic crisis could — but won’t necessarily — delay this transformation.
Despite having lived in Silicon Valley for more than 25 years, Salzman’s family still lives in Toronto. He has also retained his Canadian citizenship (I forgot to ask him if he still loves hockey).