Tag Archives: VantagePoint

VantagePoint’s Alan Salzman: energy transformation inevitable

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).

$200 million in orders for Premium Power?

Okay, so I’m sitting in a hotel meeting room listening to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. talk to members of Ontario’s Electricity Distributors Association and the high-profile environmental lawyer mentions that he’s on the advisory board of venture capital firm VantagePoint Venture Partners. That’s pretty cool, I thought. He talks about some of VantagePoint’s investments, including electric-car champion Better Place, solar-thermal power provider BrightSource, and energy storage company Premium Power. He then zeroes in on Massachusetts-based Premium Power and its zinc-bromide flow battery technology, which is touted as a fully recyclable/disposable, non-toxic battery based on zinc and salt water. The battery has three times the energy density of lead-acid, is cheaper, and has an operating life of 30 years with virtually unlimited ability to cycle. “It’s cheaper than using pump storage,” Kennedy claims, emphasizing that this technology can affordably store renewable energy like wind and solar power today — we don’t have to wait for future breakthroughs. Continue reading $200 million in orders for Premium Power?