Big Changes at Energy-Focused VC Firm Altira Group

A bunch of changes over at Altira Group, an energy-focused venture capital firm that’s been in business since 1996. Most notable is the addition of new partner Steve Foster, who had spent the past decade with TPG (including as co-founder of TPG Ventures). The firm also has promoted Hull McKinnon to partner, while existing partner Jan Boyer has quietly left for parts unknown.

All of this seems to be in preparation of Altira’s plans to raise a new fund, since it’s almost done adding new portfolio companies to a $175 million pool raised in 2007.

I spent a few minutes on the phone yesterday with McKinnon, who made some interesting observations about energy investing:

  1. He does not believe an open IPO window is necessary to produce strong sector returns, given the industry’s historic reliance on M&A;
  2. He thinks that, 10 years from now, “We’ll look back and wonder why we thought the energy industry was changing so rapidly, because it really isn’t.”