Garage Starts Cleantech Investment Initiative With Corporate Partner

Garage Technology Ventures is kicking off a cleantech investment initiative with a corporate partner that it hopes will blossom into a broader program and reach well beyond the energy industry.

The plan is to make seed and Series A investments hand in hand with corporate investors, says Bill Reichert, managing director at the firm.

Silicon Valley based Garage says it landed it his first corporate partner, a company based outside the United States that Reichert won’t name. Reichert expects to invest $20 million to $40 million a year through the program, with initial investments of $500,000 to $5 million.

The idea is to give corporations visibility into earlier stage technologies and “create a pipeline of companies that will be relevant to them over time,” he says.

Garage already has looked at more than 100 startups in connection with the program and is drilling into a handful of them. The aim is to expand the program beyond the single partner and into IT, communications and mobile technologies.

Here is the press release from the firm:

Garage Technology Ventures Launches Cleantech Investment Program

New Strategic Corporate Venture Model Leverages Global Resources of Corporate Partners with Venture Expertise of Garage to Fund Entrepreneurs and Spur Innovation

Los Altos, California, December 4, 2012 – Garage Technology Ventures, a leading seed and early stage venture capital fund, is partnering with global corporate investors to launch a new investment program in the U.S.  The partnership is initially focused on technologies of strategic interest to corporate partners in the areas of materials science, energy technologies, advanced chemistry, and clean technologies.  As the program expands, the scope will include software, IT, communications, mobile, and other sectors.

Garage is reaching out to entrepreneurs, investors, universities and research labs to source new technology companies for investment.  Under the partnership, Garage and its corporate partners will invest $500,000 to $5 million in promising opportunities that range from seed and early stage startups to growth and late stage companies that can scale to global businesses.  Interested companies can submit their executive summaries to

New Model for Corporate Investors

The partnership reflects the recent evolution of the global venture capital community.  Corporations are showing an increased urgency to tap into the Silicon Valley innovation community as part of their long-term innovation strategy.
“Corporate investors see the need to participate more aggressively in the new venture ecosystem,” said Bill Reichert, managing director of Garage Technology Ventures.  “At the same time, global strategic investors can bring a lot more than just money to an emerging technology company, if the relationship is managed correctly.  The result is a win-win for entrepreneurs and for corporations.”

Benefits for Entrepreneurs and Corporations

The partnership was forged around the recognition that startup companies and large corporations often operate very differently, which can make collaboration challenging.  Garage provides a bridge between the two cultures.

“Garage serves as a well-known and trusted name in the venture community that can help corporate investors find strategic value in the innovation ecosystem and help entrepreneurs gain access to the global reach and resources of corporate partners,” said Joyce Chung, also a managing director of Garage Technology Ventures.

The result is an approach that benefits both entrepreneurs and corporate partners:

  • For Entrepreneurs:  The advantage of the Garage model is the opportunity to accelerate the validation of their technologies and their markets, along with the possibility of joint development, having an early beta/pilot customer, and getting access to capital and distribution channels.
  • For Corporations:  The advantage of the Garage model is tapping into an extensive network of relationships in the entrepreneur and venture community in order to develop opportunities to partner with, invest in, or acquire startups that can drive future growth.

“This is a unique way for corporations to participate in emerging innovations.  Our goal will be to find novel technologies being developed by brilliant entrepreneurs with the potential to make a major impact on global industry sectors,” said Ed Beardsworth, cleantech advisor for Garage Technology Ventures.  “We want to make a difference in the long term efficiency and sustainability of the global economy, and we are delighted to have major global corporations as partners in that mission.”

Garage was launched in 1998.  “Since then, we have seen a lot of changes in the way entrepreneurship and venture capital operate globally,” said Guy Kawasaki, a founding partner at Garage.  “We see this partnership as an opportunity to invent a new model that fits the new era – one that enables large global technology companies to connect successfully with innovative entrepreneurs to build a better world.”

About Garage Technology Ventures:
Garage Technology Ventures is a venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley and focused on finding brilliant entrepreneurs with path-breaking technologies that have the potential to have a substantial global impact.  Over the past 14 years, Garage has funded over 150 emerging technology companies, including many companies that have become leaders in their sectors, such as Pandora Media, Motley Fool, LeftHand Networks, Tripwire, Coremetrics, Simply Hired, CaseStack, and WhiteHat Security.

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