Cleantech VC Hemant Taneja Moves to Bay Area, Talks Investment Strategy at General Catalyst

2/17/11Follow @gthuang

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folks are going back to IT—and it’s an interesting space.”

As for General Catalyst, he says, “We are sticking to our allocation to energy. We’re optimistic the sector will be good for us.” The firm’s most recent energy deal—a growth-stage investment in Texas-based energy efficiency firm CLEAResult—came to light earlier this week in a Boston Globe report. CLEAResult, a bootstrapped and profitable company with 300 employees, is in the process of hiring a small Boston-area team, and should help “bring their best practices and grow the energy efficiency market here,” Taneja says.

General Catalyst looks to invest in energy companies that can build a real business (in the U.S. and global markets) within seven to 10 years, he says. But its deals run the gamut from early-stage startups—like ARC Energy in New Hampshire, which has grown from six employees to 60 since GC invested—to later-stage businesses like CLEAResult, Taneja says.

The VC firm also invests in project development work by financing the operating companies, such as SunBorne and C12 Energy. One pitfall that GC tries to avoid: focusing on markets that rely heavily on policy, such as carbon credits, to build a business.

Coming back to New England’s cleantech cluster, Taneja says prospects are looking very bright for the future. “There’s more stuff coming out of universities, and the state [government] is doing a lot of work,” he says. “I believe there’s strong opportunity locally.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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