Thursday, November 13, 2008

Al Gore Green PEU

Al Gore expressed no interest in serving in an Obama administration, despite thoughtful proposals as to his role. The elder statesman read the tea leaves and decided considerably more green lay outside the confines of our federal bureaucracy. Vice President Gore's environmental credentials are clear from his Nobel Peace prize and his successful movie, An Inconvenient Truth. Later studies revealed Gore exaggerated sea level rise. A British judge ruled the film had nine errors but found the film "broadly accurate."

Albert has a financial incentive to drive green changes. He is Chairman of London based Generation Investment Management and a partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a private equity underwriter (PEU).

In March the International Herald Tribune reported on Al's investment fundraising skills.

The sustainable investment firm run by Al Gore, the former U.S. vice-president, is about to be closed to new investors, having raised close to its $5 billion target. Generation Investment Management will probably restrict inflows into its main Global Equity Fund next month, Gore and David Blood, co-founder of the company, said at a news conference Tuesday. Blood said the firm could not manage more than $5 billion in assets.

Gore serves on KPCB's GreenTech initiative. Information on their fundraising effort comes from a May press release:

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), the Silicon Valley venture capital firm, announced today it is launching a new $500 million investment vehicle: the Green Growth Fund. The fund is intended to help speed mass market adoption of solutions to the world’s climate crisis.

KPCB separately announced today the formation of KPCB XIII, a $700 million fund that will invest in greentech, information technology and life sciences ventures. Within the greentech sector, KPCB XIII will mainly back early-stage entrepreneurs, while the Green Growth Fund will support companies that have already entered their growth phase.

Within months, Al Gore raised more than $5.5 billion for investors to profit from green commercial development. Ironically, Generation Investment Management and KCBP joined forces last year. Fortune highlighted Al Gore's association with the two firms. But, to Al's credit:

Mr. Gore also announced that as part of the agreement between the two firms, 100 percent of his salary as a Partner at KPCB will be donated directly to the Alliance for Climate Protection—the non-partisan foundation he chairs that focuses on accelerating policy solutions to the climate crisis.

Al also serves on the Apple Board of Directors and advises Google. Gore knows when to be quiet, a skill needed in today's political landscape. Do his private equity firms expect 30% annual returns like standard setting Carlyle Group? If so, the taxpayer pays for egregious returns. Our green becomes Al's green.

What happens if the partnership of Blood & Gore is prophetic? How high will the financial blood get in the streets as old energy battles new energy? Will the red or blue franchise win? Stay tuned...

Update: Katie Couric interviewed Al Gore, calling him the "Godfather of Green." He discussed his upcoming book on climate solutions. How many arose from his financial investments in Camco (carbon projects), Ausra (solar energy), Ocado (green grocery), New Forests (green investment management), Silver Spring Networks (smart electricity) or New Resource Bank (green banking)? Al didn't disclose.