Chrysalix to expand cleantech network

Canadian-based cleantech investor Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital is looking to double the size of its $78 million European affiliate fund and launch similar affiliate funds in India and Southeast Asia, Executive Director Michael Brown tells PE Week.

The firm partnered with asset manager Robeco to launch Sustainable Energy Technology Venture Partners (SET) last December. The fund received commitments from Delta NV and Essent NV.

“We have a strong indication from people that doubling that won’t be too hard of a problem,” Brown says.

The firm is also considering expanding its affiliate program after it was approached by an organization that had heard about its European partnership. The deal is not done, Brown says, but it is in the works.

“We’ve been talking to some people who have access to money in the Middle East and feet on the street in Mumbai,” he says.

An Indian fund would likely start out at the same size as the firm’s European fund.

Vancouver-based Chrysalix takes a piece of its affiliate’s fees and carry, an arrangement that’s similar to what Draper Fisher Jurvetson does with its global affiliate network.

Still, Brown is anxious that the investors his firm partners with remain independent. “We’ve made it clear to the two guys that are operating in Europe that we have no right to be associated with the next fund, but want to add enough value to make them believe that we bring a lot to the table,” he says. “I want to find guys that want to be in charge. I don’t want to hire employees.”

SET is run by Managing Directors Rene Savelsberg, who formerly led the corporate venture arm electronics maker Philips, and Wouter Jonk, who was the CFO of the Philips health care incubator.

The SET-Chrysalix partnership made its first joint investment last week, backing lithium-ion battery recharging company Epyon with an undisclosed amount. The Netherlands-based company was spun out of Delft University of Technology and is targeting the market for fast-recharge of electric-powered vehicles.

Chrysalix raised its first fund, a $32 million vehicle, in 2001 and closed a $70 million fund in 2005. The firm may soon be back out for more money itself, but it won’t be looking for hundreds of millions of dollars, says Brown. “If you get to be too big, you start not being early stage.” —Alexander Haislip