We have a new venture capital firm in Boise – August Ventures and it’s run by Eric Hansen. Eric and I met back in the early 1990′s at a semiconductor capital equipment company located in Boise called SCP Global Technologies. I had the pleasure of working closely with Eric over 10+ years and respect his deep scientific knowledge and curiosity. I wanted to introduce August Ventures to our readers, and thought the best way was through some Q&A:
Why a Venture Fund Now?
An economic downturn, especially a severe one like we are in now, creates a environment where talented people, freed from larger corporations, are looking to create new opportunities for themselves by innovating solutions to the problems of the day. This makes it a great time to enter with fresh capital directed at assisting these newly minted entrepreneurs in building great companies.
Describe the focus of the fund?
August Ventures is focused on renewable energy and sustainable approaches to reducing energy consumption. The fund is also focused on companies in the western U.S.
What are the most interesting or compelling areas you are finding right now?
Energy storage, with the enabling new material combinations, is becoming an important part of the renewable energy ecosystem.
What type of companies do you consider and what stage of investment?
Early stage start-ups in the green-tech space, specifically in energy storage, efficiency and intelligence.
What is the most surprising thing you have learned since getting into the venture industry (about the venture industry)?
How open the community is to sharing knowledge and bringing in partners for due diligence and co-investment.
Give us a little background on Eric Hansen?
I spent 25 years, from an engineers drafting table (pre CAD) to the C suite, developing leading edge capital equipment for the semiconductor industry. I built my first concentrating solar collector in 1980, and have had a strong interest in renewables every since.
What national/global business do you most admire and why?
First Solar which could be called “the Intel of PV Solar.” They combined a solid (not leading edge) technique for solar energy harvest with a focused, cost driven, management team to produce a long term player in the increasingly important high volume solar panel producers market. Additionally, this is a homegrown US company with highest market cap. in the space; a clear market winner.