Alternative energy – 10 tips when starting a cleantech company, with Mike Ahearn and George Bilicic [Video, Transcript]
Endeavor is proud to make public the following transcript and video from a presentation at the 2011 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco. The event, which assembled over 450 entrepreneurs and global business leaders, featured dozens of entrepreneurship-related presentations by top CEOs and industry experts.
Overview:The cleantech revolution has unleashed what some have called the largest market opportunity in the history of the planet. As experts in the cleantech space, Mike Ahearn (Chairman, First Solar) and George Bilicic (Head of Energy, Power, and Infrastructure, Lazard) discuss the magnitude of this opportunity, what it means for entrepreneurs (particularly those in emerging markets), and what entrepreneurs should keep in mind when starting cleantech businesses.
Michael J. Ahearn currently serves as Managing Partner of True North Venture Partners, L.P., a venture capital company that invests in early stage innovative businesses addressing some of the world’s most challenging problems in areas such as energy, water, agriculture and waste. Mr. Ahearn also serves as Chairman of the Board, First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR); Member, Board of Trustees, Thunderbird School of Global Management; Member, Board of Trustees, The German Marshall Fund; Member, Board of Directors, Endeavor; Member, Global Advisory Board, Beijing Climate Policy Initiative; and Member, Advisory Board, BDT Capital Partners. Mr. Ahearn lives in Phoenix, Arizona. He holds B.S. and J.D. degrees from Arizona State University.
George Bilicic heads the Firm’s global efforts in power, energy and infrastructure and also works with companies in other industries. In addition, he serves as a member of the Firm’s Fairness Committee and Investment Banking Committee. Mr. Bilicic earlier completed a term as Head of Lazard’s Midwest Advisory business serving the needs of companies and governmental entities based in that region of the U.S. across all industries. Other than his time at KKR (see below), Mr. Bilicic has been at Laz ard since March 2002.
Most recently, Mr. Bilicic has advised on the following matters (client in parentheses): proposed merger of Progress Energy and Duke Energy (Progress Energy), proposed merger of Northeast Utilities and NSTAR (Northeast Utilities), resolution of joint venture and related matters between EDF and Constellation Energy (EDF), proposed sale of RBS/Sempra Trading Business (RBS and Sempra), proposed sale of Autopista Central toll road (Skanska), potential privatization or municipalization of the Long Island electric transmission and distribution system (LIPA), proposed exchange offer by Exelon for NRG (Exelon), leveraged buy-out of TXU led by KKR and TPG (TXU), Duke Energy spin-off transaction (Duke), National Grid acquisition of KeySpan (KeySpan), PlaNYC (City of New York), Duke Energy merger with Cinergy (Duke), various alternative energy financings and others.
From May 2008 to October 2008, Mr. Bilicic served as a Managing Director and Head of Infrastructure at KKR. At KKR, Mr. Bilicic was responsible for initiating and leading KKR’s global infrastructure investing efforts and contributing to other areas, especially alternative energy and power. During his time at KKR, Mr. Bilicic served on the Infrastructure Investment Committee and led teams that considered investments in airports, ports, surface transportation, utilities and power, alternative energy, midstream infrastructure, social infrastructure, and infrastructure conglomerates.