DBL Partners’ Nancy Pfund: Spotting the Next Tesla and Solar City

ImpactAlpha
December 3, 2015

By Isaac Silk

When Nancy Pfund‘s DBL Part­ners recently closed its $400 mil­lion third fund, ImpactAl­pha wrote, “Want to spot the next Tesla? Watch DBL Partners.”

In her pod­cast inter­view with ImpactAl­pha, Pfund dis­cusses new invest­ments from Tan­za­nia (Off Grid Elec­tric) to San Fran­cisco (Advanced Micro­grid Solu­tions). Hint: Advanced Micro­grid is the largest cus­tomer of Tesla’s new Pow­er­Pack bat­tery systems.

I want to give a shout out to all of the clean tech entre­pre­neurs,” Pfund told ImpactAlpha’s David Bank. “This field is on fire. Or, maybe that’s not a good metaphor. This field is very excit­ing and grow­ing, and the qual­ity of entre­pre­neurs in our deal flow com­pared to the very early days is just night and day. So, it’s just a great time to have dry powder.”

Pfund stuck with clean­tech invest­ments when many oth­ers pulled out. In the pod­cast, she tells the story of Solar City’s hair-​​raising IPO and being pals with Elon Musk (“He’s always been a mas­ter of the uni­verse in my mind”).

I believe that we are at the tip­ping point for clean energy,” Pfund says. “When quarter-​​after-​​quarter you see the major­ity of new gen­er­a­tion capac­ity com­ing from renew­ables, when you see the growth of elec­tric vehi­cles and tra­di­tional car com­pa­nies com­ing out with their own mod­els — this is what the early phase of a tran­si­tion looks like.”

Brian Walsh of the New York finan­cial ser­vices com­pany Liq­uid­net, and Imo­gen Rose-​​Smith, senior writer at Insti­tu­tional Investor, join David for a panel dis­cus­sion. Is it accept­able — or pos­si­ble — to get filthy rich doing impact investing?

Lis­ten to ImpactAlpha’s inter­view with Nancy Pfund.