Clean Tech Venture Forum

October 29, 2008

In the out-of-the-way town of Athens, OH a greentech cluster is springing up.This was evident from the number, composition, and interest of attendees at the October 22nd Clean Tech Venture Forum held in Ohio University’s Walter Hall Rotunda.Attending were economic development leaders, entrepreneurs, Ohio University staff, faculty and students, and investment experts from the far reaching parts of the state.

Hosted by Credit Suisse, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (Ohio PERS), Adena Ventures, the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, OSU South Centers and TechGROWTH Ohio, the forum began with a networking lunch, followed by an introduction by Louis Darmstradter of OPERS and a welcome from Ohio University President Roderick McDavis. “Clean Technologies are those innovations that turn liabilities into assets and at Ohio University we are working on all fronts to extend the boundaries of Clean Technology” President McDavis told the crowd of nearly 100.

In addition, the forum featured a keynote address by Governor’s Energy Adviser Mark Shanahan, who emphasized the need for Ohio companies to collaborate and work together to solve the growing energy and resource crises. “Ohio’s strength lies in the wealth of possible solutions it offers, including wind energy in the Northeast region of the state, coal in the Southeast, green architecture in the Southwest and solar energy in the Northwest,” Shanahan said.

In conjunction with these technologies, Ohio boasts 15 institutions involved in the research and development of new energy approaches. However, Ohio businesses, researchers and institutions must continue to work towards innovations such as nuclear power plants, which have not yet been attempted in Ohio.

“I think the key to clean technology’s success in Ohio is building a partnership between the folks who develop the technology, the folks who use the technology and the people who finance the technology,” Shanahan said. “The vision is that literally millions of dollars will be invested, creating tens of thousands of new jobs in Ohio. We can make that happen, but we need to pull together throughout the state to succeed.”

The forum continued with two panel discussions featuring business experts discussing clean tech successes as well as the investment perspective on clean tech venture opportunities.

Jonathan Murray, Managing Director of Early Stage Partners summarized the day nicely “I was impressed by the campus and the quality of participants. We appreciate the chance to be included, and would like to continue being engaged in evaluating investment opportunities that evolve from Ohio University.”

Panelists included:

  • Scott Miller, (Moderator) Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Ohio University
  • Neill Lane, Global Cooling
  • David Milenthal, CEO, The Milenthal Group
  • Mark Schuetz, Founder, Blight – to – Bright
  • Nadeane Howard, Assistant Director of Strategic Business Investment, Ohio Department of Development
  • Lynn Gellerman, (Moderator) President, Adena Ventures
  • David Kirkpatrick, Managing Director and Co-Founder, SJF Ventures
  • li>Pete Davies, Principal, Stonehenge Partners, Inc.
  • Jonathan Murray, Managing Director, Early Stage Partners