Silver Lake launches ‘green’ strategy with Soros

The partnership, called Silver Lake Kraftwerk, will target environmentally friendly growth investments. Cathy Zoi, a former official in the Obama administration, is joining the team.

Silver Lake has launched a partnership with billionaire George Soros to provide growth capital to companies creating ways to increase energy efficiency, reduce waste and emissions and harness renewable energy.

The firm declined to talk about whether it is raising a fund for the partnership, which will be called Silver Lake Kraftwerk, citing US Securities and Exchange Commission marketing rules.

Silver Lake will run the strategy from offices in Silicon Valley and mainland China, possibly in Shanghai or Beijing, according to Greg Mondre, senior managing director with the firm. The effort will be led by Adam Grosser, a former general partner with venture firm Foundation Capital.

The opportunity comes from a flood of companies that were created over the last 10 years, mostly by the venture capital industry. Those companies have taken longer to grow than first anticipated, and that are now in need of capital, Grosser told PEI.

“There has been a dearth of support for those companies as they’re growing. Right now, there’s an incredible opportunity to identify the 50 or 60 best projects globally that could use support to get to scale,” Grosser said. “There will be a tipping point and we’re excited to catalyse that.”

There's an incredible opportunity to identify the 50 or 60 best projects globally that could use support to get to scale.

Adam Grosser

Part of the strategy is to have presence in China because the country is simply the biggest market for innovations in renewable energy and environmentally friendly technologies, Grosser said.

“The magnitude of the challenge and, as the country continues to develop, the pressure to increase the quality of life points to opportunities to provide efficiency as well as new sources of supply and demand management,” he said.

Silver Lake has experience expanding into new strategies by putting together teams of experts to “drive returns” and “provide thought leadership”, Mondre said.

The Kraftwerk team will also add a former player in the administration of US President Barack Obama, Cathy Zoi,

Cathy Zoi

who recently announced her resignation as the administration's acting undersecretary for energy and assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Silver Lake Kraftwerk is the firm’s fourth investment strategy around which it has built an investment group. The firm has its main, large-cap investment business Silver Lake Partners, its mid-market investment group Silver Lake Sumeru and its credit-focused arm called Silver Lake Capital.

Last year co-founder Jim Davidson sat down with PEI for a rare in-depth interview. Click here to read how an intense passion for technology's potential, coupled with an approach markedly different from other large private equity firms, has kept Silver Lake firmly above water and expanding its business lines.