We all have daily reminders of climate change — whether we recognize them as such or not. For Riaz Siddiqi, it’s the palm tree in front of his office in Houston, TX, that is slowly dying in response to a new, intolerable climate. These warning signs are all around us, and yet what drives us to act on them? Mr. Siddiqi’s motivation comes from his grandchildren, and the knowledge that if we don’t do something now, they’ll pay for it later.
Riaz Siddiqi is Chairman at Clovis Point Capital, Founder & Managing Partner at Denham Capital, as well as on the Advisory Board and a speaker at the 2019 TRANSITION Forum. The forum is an initiative to gather together leaders, influencers, experts, and innovators to address the climate crisis. Mr. Siddiqi speaks publicly on a regular basis about climate change, and argues that the best way to talk about the climate crisis is to make the fight personal. Curious about his perspective, we asked him a few questions ahead of the TRANSITION Forum to find out more.
Why are you personally passionate about financing clean tech?
I have three grandchildren ages 4, 2, and 1. I am very committed to doing everything I can to assure they and their peers have a future that is at least as bright and if possible brighter than that which I and my generation have enjoyed. I am very passionate about encouraging change that results in a sustainable planet for our future generations. One key to this change is to create an economy that has profitable opportunities for all forms of capital to invest in the transition and then transform this global economy from one that is dependent primarily on fossil fuels to one that is dependent on clean energy. Cleantech investments are key to a global clean energy economy and to a sustainable future for my grandchildren, their peers and all future generations!
Do you think that VCs have a responsibility to prioritize investing in clean technology?
VCs have a responsibility to a number of stakeholders, their investors. their employees, their investee companies and society at large! Not every VC specializes in clean tech, however cleantech does offer an asset class for investing intelligently in emerging technologies with a large scale economic and social impact and to that extent some VCs may choose to specialize in it, while others may simply develop a competency that enable them to invest in a variety of technologies including cleantech. Both approaches are fine. The key to making a measurable impact on climate change will be an internalization of the obligation today’s generation feels to all future generations to leave them a planet that is healthy and in a state of sustainability. That means technologists, investors, management teams, political leaders, business leaders and society at large has to feel that obligation and VCs are a vital subset of that society. In that ecosystem, VCs will both feel obligated as well as have opportunities for profitable investments in cleantech.
Can you talk a little bit about Clovis Point Capital and the company’s investment philosophy?
Clovis Point Capital was founded in 2014 by partners Robert Shuford and Christopher Joseph. The Fund provides growth capital and strategic advice to lower middle-market enterprise software and tech-enabled companies with scalable, recurring revenue business models to enable them to ramp growth and accelerate value creation. This segment of the market is underserved by traditional capital sources and advisors, and the Fund utilizes a proactive, targeted sourcing strategy to find proprietary investment opportunities. The Fund’s investment thesis is centered on being actively engaged with its portfolio companies. Clovis Point works with management teams to implement best practices and strategic initiatives to maximize shareholder value. These initiatives include supplementing key personnel, evaluating and setting product roadmaps and go-to-market strategies, and building out the necessary reporting functions to guide informed decision making and monitor progress.
How does Clovis Point Capital support the transition to a clean economy and a zero carbon society?
Clovis Point Capital is committed to investing in businesses that offer value-add products and services, and partners with individuals to develop and nurture creative, intelligent solutions. The Fund remains opportunistic within the dynamic cleantech investing landscape and will continue to evaluate prospects operating in the space.
How does Clovis Point Capital fundraise?
Clovis Point Capital fundraises via a multi-faceted approach that engages individuals, family offices, and institutional investors alike. The fund seeks to provide its limited partners with exposure to a unique set of opportunities that exist within the technology and software space. The Fund pursues an investment strategy that targets companies operating at a critical impasse in their lifecycle. These companies are in need of intelligent growth capital, experienced partners and assistance in further developing a long-term vision for their products and services. Clovis Point seeks to deliver on those needs and, together with skilled management teams, create value for its investors.
You’re on the advisory board at TRANSITION Forum. Can you talk a bit about the forum and why it’s important?
Under the High Patronage of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, TRANSITION Forum is dedicated to powering the transition to a clean and sustainable future.
This forum brings a subset of global leadership in business, technology, finance and politics together to exchange ideas and best practices, investment opportunities and sources of capital to facilitate the forging of relationships and to impart momentum to the movement towards a sustainable future. The support of the Prince can encourage other leaders to undertake similar initiatives to impart further impetus to the movement! This is the second convening of the Forum and I hope there will be many more to come.
You mentioned that you speak publicly on a regular basis about climate change. What do you believe we should be doing differently when we talk about the climate crisis? And in that vein, how do we convince people to take action?
The solution to the climate change challenge will be found in collective action! It is quite intuitive to acknowledge that we all have to work together as individuals and as governments to agree upon and implement solutions that will lead us to a sustainable future. If one examines the global environment today, there is clearly a selfishness that today’s generation continues to exhibit in the face of overwhelming evidence of a deterioration in the climatic … the older generation of leaders has to be convinced their children’s future is at risk! The younger generation has to be convinced their future is at risk . Most especially we have to appeal to the maternal instincts of women that their children’s future is at risk. The impetus for collective action will come from the confluence of enlightened elites coming to power propelled by grassroots movements composed primarily of women and youth, and those movements will provide the momentum for lasting change towards a sustainable future.
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