The Yale International Center for Finance in partnership with the Yale SOM Impact Investing Club hosted a conversation with leading clean energy investment professionals in the US and Europe to discuss recent trends in the industry on Friday, April 30th, 2021 at 12:00pm. Moderated by SOM Lecturer Richard Kauffman ’83, we’ll hear from Valerie Gardner ’85, Founder of Nucleation Capital (San Francisco), Aashna Mehra ’19, Investment Associate at New Energy Capital Partners (Hanover, New Hampshire), and Stéphanie Guitton Chrétien, Partner at Demeter (Paris).
Watch recording below
Stéphanie ChrétienPartner at Demeter & Paris Green Fund (Paris)
Stéphanie has over 20 years of experience in digital, innovation, venture capital and startup support. At Demeter, a €1 billion AUM European private equity firm investing in the ecological transition, she is dedicated to the Paris Green Fund, investing in high-growth SMEs for sustainable cities. Prior to joining Demeter in 2018, Stéphanie worked within Roland Berger’s Digital Practice to develop the ecosystem of digital partners “Terra Numerata” at the international level. Terra Numerata now counts more than one hundred partners and has allowed Roland Berger to enrich its digital offerings. At Roland Berger, Stéphanie also created and managed Augesco Ventures, the Media and Counsel for Equity fund founded by Les Echos / Le Parisien Group and Roland Berger. In 2014, Stéphanie created an independent consulting activity and supported 4 startups in their strategy, development and fundraising. In 2011, Stéphanie founded the Corporate Venture business for Edenred, driving the €15m investment in Partech venture fund, making Edenred the first corporate to invest in this fund, now attracting nearly 30 corporates. She then led the investor relationship with Partech, as well as investments and a dozen operational partnerships with startups.
Valerie Gardner (SOM ‘85)Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Nucleation Capital (San Francisco)
For much of the last decade, as a principal of Tiemann Investment Advisors, LLC (TIA), Valerie has been studying the impacts of carbon risks on economic activity and portfolio returns. Beginning in 2009, she began developing quantitative, data-driven strategies for reducing carbon risks within investment portfolios. While many of her peers were engaging in ESG-focused explorations, Valerie’s research led her in an entirely different direction: seeking to understand where the most scalable sources of abundant clean energy come from. This caused her to take a deep dive into the nuclear industry, when she discovered that most of the U.S.’s carbon-free energy is produced by nuclear power. TIA introduced its “Future Generation” portfolio in 2014, utilizing a unique methodology for constructing a “post-carbon priced” portfolio for public market securities, that effectively eliminates carbon risk without reducing market exposure within the overall energy sector allocation. In developing the Future Generation portfolio, what Valerie learned about nuclear power—and especially the advancements being developed now—led to the launch of Nucleation Capital. TIA, an investment firm founded by Ms. Gardner and Dr. Jonathan Tiemann in 2002, with over $250 million in AUM, sponsored the development of Nucleation Capital.
Aashna Mehra (SOM ‘19)Investment Associate, New Energy Capital Partners (Hanover, New Hampshire)
Aashna is a member of the investments team at New Energy Capital Partners, a private equity fund that invests in small and mid-sized clean energy infrastructure projects and companies. In her role, she performs financial modeling, investment diligence and market analysis to deploy capital from a $500 million credit fund that will help move the United States towards a low-carbon economy. Prior to joining NEC in 2019, she was an Investment Analyst at Greenbacker Capital, a leading long-term owner and operator of sustainable infrastructure assets and interned in Barclays Capital’s Investment Banking Division. She has also worked as a Legislative Assistant to the former Union Power Minister of India, Jyotiraditya M. Scindia. Aashna was named to the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Energy.
Richard Kauffman (SOM '83)SOM Senior Lecturer & Chair of Generate Capital (New York)
Richard is the Chair of Generate Capital, a leading financier and owner of clean economy infrastructure. He is also Chair of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University’s Center On Global Energy Policy. Prior to these positions, he was in the office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as the state’s first Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York, or ‘energy czar,’ in January 2013. On behalf of Governor Cuomo, Mr. Kauffman led New York State’s comprehensive energy policy effort, known as Reforming the Energy Vision Mr. Kauffman oversaw and managed the state’s complete portfolio of energy agencies and authorities, comprised of the Department of Public Service (DPS), the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). He was appointed chair of NYSERDA’s board in June 2013. As the state’s most senior energy official, Mr. Kauffman was New York’s lead delegate in Paris at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP21. In 2014, Mr. Kauffman was named by Fortune Magazine as one of the World’s Top 25 Eco-Innovators.