There has been a lot of buzz about opportunities for cleantech in Louisiana lately, including the Tulane’s RiverSphere, Idea Village’s Water Challenge with Nanofex taking home a $50,000 investment, green certification company Life City earning $50,000 investment from Gray Ghost Ventures, Refresh Environmental, Free Flow Power‘s proposed Mississippi turbines, and CNN’s coverage of New Orleans as the green hub of the South. But the biggest thing missing has always been access to capital. Even our own survey found that 42% of respondents pegged access to capital as the biggest thing missing to improve the startup ecosystem.
Not anymore, for cleantech at least. Today, SAIL Capital Partners of Irvine, CA and SAIL Sustainable Partners of Louisiana (SSP), announced the creation of The Louisiana Sustainability Fund (LSF), a new private capital fund dedicated to building a sustainable economic future in Louisiana by investing in clean technology and sustainable industry. The Fund is expected to impact green jobs and businesses in Louisiana through the investment of private capital in later stage growth companies with proven technologies, either currently in Louisiana or positioned to locate in Louisiana, that are making significant contributions to sustainable economic growth.
“We believe that the potential for economic growth through investment in sustainable businesses in Louisiana is extraordinary,” commented SSP Chairman of the Board and SAIL Capital Partners Managing Partner Walter Schindler. “We believe that now, because of a variety of factors, including tax incentives and growth in the cleantech sector, Louisiana is ripe for this kind of investment. SAIL is inspired to play a leading role in the growth of cleantech business in the state and have a positive impact on continued rebuilding efforts and economic growth.”
The Fund will work in cooperation with governmental and non-governmental organizations to drive economic development and transformation, and lay a solid foundation for innovation and prosperity in Louisiana. The state was chosen as the core for the new private capital fund because it comprises an opportune mixture of valuable resources and intellectual capital in the areas of energy, water and agriculture, coupled with strong tax incentives for businesses and pro-growth policies. In addition, since the beginning of the national economic recession, Louisiana’s economy continues to outperform the South and the U.S. and secure top spots in national business rankings.
The Fund will invest in the areas of energy, water and green innovation. In addition, the Fund will measure the investment’s potential for long-term economic development and profitability in Louisiana. The Fund’s investment strategy selects convertible debt investments with warrants in later stage companies and drives value creation by participating in equity upside. The Fund will mitigate risks by focusing on late stage businesses with proven technologies and strong management teams that posses a solid foundation for growth and job creation.
“The Louisiana Sustainability Fund will provide a private pool of capital which with public sector incentives will spur economic development in Louisiana,” said SSP Managing Partner R. Foster Duncan. “The Fund has vast potential to accelerate Louisiana’s push toward positively impacting business enterprises that embrace sustainability and environmental stewardship while providing our investors with attractive, conservative returns.”
“Businesses who embrace cleantech can be profitable,” said SSP General Partner and Whole Foods Board Chairman John Elstrott. “We could have picked Orange County, Silicon Valley or any number of places, but we chose Louisiana because for us it represents a new frontier for sustainable enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation.”
The general partners of the Louisiana Sustainability Fund represent a group with strong ties to Louisiana including New Orleans native Walter Schindler, chairman of the board; R. Foster Duncan, managing partner, and New Orleanian; Hank Habicht, managing partner; John Elstrott, general partner, and board chairman for Whole Foods; Louis Freeman, Jr., general partner, and New Orleanian, as well as Alan Sellers, general partner and New Orleans native.
You can find our more about the Louisiana Sustainability Fund here.