RoseRyan lists the Bay Area’s top 20 cleantech finance executives to watch
(Newark, Calif., November 9, 2010) – When it comes to the year ahead in Bay Area cleantech finance, our advice is: Hold onto your seats! The sector is heating up while the economy remains unsteady. IPO and M&A activity is on the rise. Startup investment is surging. Innovation is coming to market, with even more promising ideas for saving the planet following right behind.
For companies navigating this wild ride, the guidance and expertise of finance executives is key—and their contributions are often overlooked. That’s why RoseRyan has identified 20 top cleantech finance pros to watch in the coming year. They are our heroes. They are quick on their feet and long on strategic vision. They raise capital, arrange complex partnerships, manage growth and stretch financial models. Audits, IPOs and M&A prep don’t faze them. Most important, their companies are helping to make the world a better place.
The 20 dynamic leaders on our list of Top Cleantech Finance Pros to Watch will face enormous—and often exciting—finance challenges through 2011 and beyond. We don’t know what the future holds, but we think great times are ahead for them and their groundbreaking companies.
How we developed the list
RoseRyan’s Chris Vane, who leads RoseRyan’s cleantech practice, compiled the list in a thoroughly unscientific manner, researching companies and informally polling industry insiders. (Disclaimer: some on this list are, or have been, RoseRyan clients.) He identified executives who have played a strategic role in guiding their companies and have demonstrated success in the following areas:
- Ability to scale quickly
- Prioritizing capital investments
- Managing financial risk
- Understanding regulatory challenges
- Improving business decision support
- Taking a leadership role in the industry
- Helping achieve operational excellence
- Managing in a challenging environment
Vane, who is embedded in the Northern California cleantech community, also developed RoseRyan’s list of the Bay Area’s top 25 movers and shakers in cleantech (released last January), and a survey on cleantech trends. If you think his Top 20 Cleantech Finance Pros to Watch fails, succeeds or something in between, e-mail him to let him know. He welcomes any and all feedback.
RoseRyan has delivered flawless finance work, business insights and up-to-the-minute guidance to fast-moving Silicon Valley companies since 1993. With RoseRyan, you always get top talent—fire-tested pros who’ve worked in all kinds of finance environments, can solve hidden problems before they trip you up, and really get what it takes to succeed in Silicon Valley.
RoseRyan tackles critical finance assignments for companies at all stages, with particular expertise in technology, life sciences and cleantech. Our gurus will morph into key players on your finance team, prepare you for IPOs and M&As, perform immaculate corporate governance work, and provide expert advice on never-ending rule changes.
Top 20 Bay Area Cleantech Finance Pros to Watch
(Note: list is in alphabetical order by company.)
Bonnie Montry, VP of finance, Adura Technologies
Bonnie Montry’s ability to manage finance and supply chain requirements in a dynamic environment will be key in helping Adura Technologies achieve plans for rapid growth in the coming year. The San Francisco–based startup, a 2006 California Cleantech Open Business competition winner, has raised $17 million for its commercial wireless lighting control and energy management systems. Montry’s 20 years of experience spans aerospace, financial services and industrial controls.
Jeryl L. Hilleman, CFO, Amyris
Jeryl L. Hilleman knows what it takes for a successful IPO and how to steer through post-IPO growth—and she led renewable fuels company Amyris through its much-anticipated IPO in early October, raising $84.8 million. The company built an impressive pipeline of partnerships on the road to its IPO, including major deals with Brazilian biofuels company Cosan, French oil company Total, and Procter & Gamble. Hilleman’s experience includes arranging financing and facilitating rapid growth for biotechnology and energy startups, and she helped Symyx Technologies grow from a seed-stage startup to a profitable public company.
Scott McDonald, CFO, Aurora Biofuels
Scott McDonald has helped build and grow many successful startups and high-growth companies. His resume of private and public company financings, mergers and acquisitions, and financial restructurings make him an ideal finance pro for Aurora Biofuels. This company has engineered a cost-competitive, scalable method for fuel generation and has raised over $40M in venture capital.
Charles Stonehill, CFO, Better Place
Charles Stonehill’s ability to raise and deploy capital globally and his understanding of international markets—he has led multibillion dollar funding rounds for global enterprises—gives him the acumen to help Better Place provide personal transportation as a sustainable service. The company, launched in 2007 with $200 million in venture funding, builds electric vehicle networks powered by renewable energy. Stonehill’s guidance is helping Better Place deploy systems overseas as well as domestically, and it will go a long way toward ensuring the success of the company’s electric car battery charging and switching systems.
Bill Kurtz, CFO & chief commercial officer, Bloom Energy
Bill Kurtz made the list due to his 30-year track record in managing finance for cleantech and technology companies such as Novellus Systems, 3PAR and Scient. He is helping Bloom Energy scale its groundbreaking fuel cell technology. The company already has a first-class list of clients, including Google, Adobe, Wal-Mart, eBay and FedEx. Bloom’s on-site power generation systems use a new fuel cell technology with roots in NASA’s Mars program.
Neil Bostock, CFO, BridgeLux
Neal Bostock’s deep experience in the LED lighting industry coupled with over 35 years in finance will be critical in positioning BridgeLux as a potential IPO candidate and managing rapid growth in a worldwide marketplace. BridgeLux, which secured over $150 million in venture capital funding by expanding operations and rapidly increasing headcount, is on its way to being a global brand.
Jack Jenkins-Stark, CFO, BrightSource Energy
Jack Jenkins-Stark faces tall challenges as BrightSource deploys its large-scale solar projects—which include the two largest solar agreements ever—but his vast experience in energy and banking should serve the company well. Prior to joining BrightSource, Jenkins-Stark held senior positions at Silicon Valley Bank, Itron, Silicon Valley Energy and Pacific Gas & Electric. BrightSource has more than 2600MW of power under contract, and it’s developing more than 4GW of solar power projects in Southwestern states.
Robert Kelly, CFO, Calera
Robert Kelly’s experience with growing companies and complex transactions involving customers, suppliers, lenders and investors will serve Calera well as it brings its carbon-capture processes to market. Kelly has raised more than $48 billion across multiple capital markets during his career; as EVP and CFO at Calpine Corp. he was integral to growing the power company from $20 million to over $27 billion in assets. Calera’s technology is used to capture emissions from large-scale sources such as coal-fired power plants and convert them into building materials and water.
John Beaver, CFO, Calisolar
John Beaver has many years of building the finance functions for publicly traded companies during periods of significant growth, and he’ll have a critical role in efficiently managing the $150 million-plus that Calisolar has raised to date. The company is the only U.S. supplier of multicrystalline solar cells. It was awarded a clean energy manufacturing tax credit of $51.6 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.
Robert Lawson, SVP and CFO, Codexis
Robert Lawson capably steered Codexis through its IPO and will help it seize large-scale opportunities for its enzymes, guiding the company toward the most efficient use of capital. He has over 20 years’ experience in senior financial management, including top posts at Intuit and GE. Codexis develops optimized biocatalysts that make industrial processes faster, cleaner and more efficient.
Sanjeev Kumar, CFO, Enphase Energy
Sanjeev Kumar, a global energy markets veteran, helped Enphase raise $63 million, and he’ll be integral to the company’s ability to maintain rapid growth and expand markets. Enphase has shipped more than 300,000 units of its solar microinverter systems in the last two years, and is quickly gaining market share because it offers the only proven, reliable product of its kind on the market. During his career, Kumar has raised over $5 billion in debt and equity financing in both private and public markets. Prior to joining Enphase, he was the CFO of Energy Conversion Devices and served on the board of Solar Integrated Technologies.
Michael Johnson, CFO, Innovalight
Michael Johnson is hard at work—earlier this year Innovalight raised $18 million in venture capital and the company appears to be heading toward profitability. He’ll continue to have his hands full: Innovalight’s photovoltaics technologies and materials boost solar cell performance, and the company is growing fast. Johnson is no stranger to startup growth, though. During his career he has raised over $500 million in new capital and served in senior finance roles at companies such as Amber Networks, CachFlor and Ascend Communications.
Bernie Chong, controller, LS9
Bernie Chong’s experience with leveraged buyouts and in working with private and public companies gives him what it takes to navigate the strategic financing that LS9 requires in order to commercialize, sell and distribute the company’s proprietary microbes that generate the simple fermentation that produces renewable fuels and sustainable chemicals. Prior to joining LS9, Chong facilitated a leveraged buyout for a group of investors in which he restructured the company’s debt-equity position, obtained new working capital and saw to the daily financial matters that enabled the company to revitalize its operations.
Merle McClendon, CFO, MiaSolé
Merle McClendon is keeping MiaSolé on the move. She has helped raise over $300 million in funding, and the company soon needs more investment to meet increasing demand for its thin-film photovoltaic solar panels. Further, MiaSolé is a potential IPO candidate in 2011. McClendon will steward the company through these events and beyond, into its life as a public company. She has over 20 years’ experience in finance, with 10 years in CFO roles for public and private fabless semiconductor companies.
Sandeep Nayyar, VP of finance and CFO, Power Integrations
Sandeep Nayyar will help steer Power Integrations into high-growth areas that require major investments and expansion in existing markets. He has over 20 years of experience in corporate financial management and leading high-growth corporations such as Quantum and Applied Biosystems. It’s a hot market: Power Integrations is the leading supplier of high-voltage analog integrated circuits used in energy-efficient power conversion; its technology enables compact, energy-efficient power supplies in a wide range of electronic products.
Patrick Murray, CFO, Serious Materials
Patrick Murray is on our list for his track record in helping technology companies scale smart and fast to achieve significant revenue. And Serious Materials, which provides products and services that reduce energy use in buildings, has raised over $100 million in investments and is growing fast. Its products have been installed in more than 70,000 projects, including the Empire State Building. Before joining Serious Materials, Murray held positions including CFO of WhereNet Corp. and director of finance at Maxim Integrated Products.
Bill Owens, VP, SunRun
Bill Owens leads the company’s financial product strategy, bringing its innovative power purchase agreement financing solution to homeowners who want solar power. (That model, in fact, has reshaped the industry.) SunRun has continued to raise money at a fast pace with well over $100 million to date, and it recently announced a $100 million joint program with Pacific Gas & Electric. Prior to SunRun, Bill was co-founder and CFO of Mile Rock Partners, an alternative investment firm focused on equity and structured finance. He has also held senior management positions for Apple, Oracle and Heinz.
Warren Jensen, COO, Silver Spring Networks
Warren Jensen has helped Silver Spring Networks through tremendous growth, securing over $150 million in venture funding and helping to position the company for a potential IPO. He has over 25 years of experience guiding industry-leading companies such as Electronic Arts, Amazon.com and Delta Airlines through product and service expansion, globalization and complex private and public financings. Silver Spring Networks is a leading provider of smart grid technology with deployments with major utilities here and abroad.
David White, CFO, SolarCity
David White is a critical force behind SolarCity’s plans to be a national brand and bring its unique financing model of leasing to the industry. The company, which has raised over $100 million in venture financing and has over $150 million in client financings, has plans to double its growth rate over the next two years. White’s 20-plus years in executive-level financial management include top roles at a variety of firms, including Chiron, Hands-On Mobile and Digital Island, which he took through its IPO. SolarCity designs, installs and leases solar systems to individuals and business owners.
Deepak Ahuja, CFO, Tesla
Deepak Ahuja led Tesla through its IPO, which raised more than $200 million. Tesla, founded in 2003, is the first car company to go public since Ford in 1956. Prior to joining Tesla, Ahuja was controller of Small Cars Product Development at Ford. With Ahuja’s automobile marketing experience, Tesla can become a leading automobile company because it makes electric cars sexy. Tesla both designs and manufactures high-performance electric vehicles, and sells patented power train components to other automakers.