As we’ve all heard before, it’s often “who you know,” instead of “what you know,” when it comes to the world of business. And that’s even more true for the greentech industry, which became the leading venture capital investment sector in the third quarter of 2009 largely based on investments from the U.S. government’s stimulus package.
While greentech investors readily backed President Obama during his political campaign, former cabinet members all the way back to the Reagan administration have joined the boards of greentech startups in droves in recent years, particularly former Department of Energy Secretaries. Here are 10 we know of, and if you have more to share, add them in the comment section.
|Politician||Former Office||Greentech Connection|
|Condoleezza Rice||Former Secretary of State||Director of carbon startup C3, (formerly on board of Chevron). She has said a cap-and-trade system could be easily abused.|
|Spencer Abraham||Former Secretary of Energy||Director at carbon startup C3. Non-executive chairman of the board for the U.S. arm of French nuclear company AREVA. Has reservations about a cap-and-trade system, but thinks that a system would likely be implemented eventually in the U.S.|
|Al Gore||Former Vice President||Partner with venture firm Kleiner Perkins, chairman of Generation Investment Management|
|Colin Powell||Former Secretary of State||Strategic limited partner at Kleiner Perkins. While Powell hasn’t played a major public role at KP (one of the most aggressive greentech VC firms) he’s a fan of electric car Fisker, and reportedly joined the firm to help with international consulting, which could benefit greentech.|
|R. James Woolsey||Former director of the Central Intelligence Agency||Partner at VantagePoint Venture Partners, adviser to GridPoint, and focused on security and the smart grid|
|Bill Clinton||Former President||Founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation, which has the Clinton Climate Initiative|
|John Herrington||Former Secretary of Energy||Board of directors for natural gas fuel company Clean Energy Fuels|
|James C. Miller III||Former director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, chaired the U.S. Federal Trade Commission during the Reagan administration||Board of directors for natural gas fuel company Clean Energy Fuels|
|James Schlesinger||Former Secretary of Energy||Advisory board of biofuels startup GeoSynFuels|
|Wesley Clark||Four-star general, former presidential candidate and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander||Board of directors of ethanol trade group Growth Energy|