Illinois Lures Energy Entrepreneurs with Venture Capital

A non-profit venture capital fund – Energy Foundry – has $22.5 million in initial funding for start-up energy companies.

Energy Foundry expects to begin making investments in Illinois-based energy-tech firms within the next 30 days.

As part of the 2011 Illinois Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA), Illinois electric utilities ComEd and Ameren provided $22.5 million in initial funding for the creation of this model to stimulate an innovation ecosystem focused on the emerging energy-technology marketplace.

As created, Energy Foundry is designed to be evergreen so that profits made from the fund are reinvested into other Illinois-based businesses.

A spokesman for Energy Foundry said the fund is looking at companies that have created innovative energy efficiency software as well as companies that focus on smart-grid technology for utilities. In addition to taking a direct financial stake in startup companies, Energy Foundry also:

  • Provides turnkey startup support to help entrepreneurs focus on launching their business, instead of dealing with back office hurdles such as accounting and human resources.
  • Provides government strategy advice and support in securing non-dilutive public funding.
  • Helps entrepreneurs validate their value proposition and explore new opportunities with utility-owned test-bed proving grounds.
  • Provides an advisor board of business executives, technical experts, investors, and entrepreneurs possessing subject matter expertise and a reservoir of experience to help move young companies.
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