Claremont Creek Ventures is located in Oakland, Calif. It's not exactly an area one would call a high-tech haven. But being one of the only VC outfits in that part of the Bay Area is a good thing for Nat Goldhaber, one of the managing partners at the Oakland-based firm.
"We're looking to turbocharge the uncommon investment," said Nat, in this interview with me recently. "[And, to find deals that are very, very, very early stage in the University of California, at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories and Lawrence Livermore Laboratories." There are a lot of new technologies coming out of these centers and with very few VCs in the area, it's a "clean field for us to be able to find the best deals," Nat explained.
It's also exciting times for Nat as deal flow is picking up. The "speed and number of deals that have merit in the area of energy conservation is truly accelerating," he said.
Indeed, Claremont recently closed on two deals in the area of energy conservation - a $2.4 million round in EcoFactor, an energy-management system for consumers to save on heating and cooling costs - and a $6.9 million round in Clean Power Finance, a provider of software and financing solutions to the solar industry. At the time of the interview, EcoFactor's round was still open for other investors to come in.
This year, the VC firm continues to look aggressively at early-stage firms to provide what they call "LifeCycle venturing." Through this process, entrepreneurs are given ample amount of "resources" - such as office space and qualified management to fill in the gaps that many young companies have. Sometimes Claremont invests a small amount, but often they don't. This early process is one in which Claremont provides more "mentoring," and it can take up to a year before a company gets its Series A round from Claremont. More often than not, however, it takes less than a year to get the companies prepped for a Series A round, Nat said.
For more on what Nat and his team are interested in investing in, watch the interview.