PRIME Facilitates Philanthropic Seed Round for Grid-Scale Energy Storage Start-Up
BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - June 16, 2015) - PRIME Coalition, a 501c3 nonprofit organization bringing philanthropic capital to energy innovation, has facilitated its first investment. The recipient is Quidnet Energy, a start-up company developing ultra-low-cost, grid-scale energy storage. The Sorenson Impact Foundation, the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, and multiple individual investors participated with PRIME in the financing.
"As global surface temperatures reach new heights, the threat of climate change has never been more apparent. In addition to deploying the proven clean energy technologies of today, we also need to develop the unproven, transformational technologies of tomorrow in order to address our global climate challenges. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs find it somewhere between difficult and impossible to raise early-stage funding for resource innovation," said Sarah Kearney, Executive Director of PRIME Coalition. "PRIME empowers philanthropic foundations and families to invest in promising early-stage ventures, like Quidnet."
Energy storage is the missing link of clean energy -- a way to store solar and wind energy so that they can be used when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing. Quidnet Energy efficiently stores electricity at extremely large capacities, utilizing pressurized water within natural geologic formations. Quidnet has designed its approach for breakthrough low cost that could undercut peaking natural gas generation.
"Quidnet is a high-risk experiment -- but if we're successful, we could offer an entirely new way to think about providing and storing clean energy," said Aaron Mandell, co-founder and Chairman of Quidnet Energy. "PRIME understands this and has created an incredible network of visionary impact investors who see the value of funding early ventures that are in lockstep with reducing greenhouse gas emissions."
Many philanthropic foundations and families want to put their capital to work for energy innovation, but struggle with high transaction costs and organizational support needed to make complex investments. PRIME Coalition lowers these barriers by identifying the most promising new ventures, and enlisting legal and financial support that make it easier to place capital. In the first close of Quidnet's seed round, PRIME facilitated investment in multiple forms, including straight convertible debt, a program-related investment, and a recoverable grant.
"The challenge of our lifetime is scaling the world for 10 billion people -- while turning back the clock on carbon emissions," said Matthew Nordan, Chairman of the Investment Committee at PRIME Coalition. "We won't do it without bringing energy entrepreneurs the resources they need to launch. Philanthropic capital can fill the gap between pre-commercial grants and traditional venture capital, and PRIME exists to catalyze philanthropic investment."
About PRIME Coalition:
PRIME is a nonprofit organization based in Boston, MA whose mission is to empower philanthropic foundations and families to invest in the market-based solutions to climate change. PRIME's primary goals are to reduce information asymmetries and transaction costs for philanthropists focused on early-stage innovation that promises vast reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions. PRIME received its 501c3 exemption determination from the IRS on September 24, 2014, marking the beginning of program launch and building on many years of market research in the philanthropic community. Six private foundations and two family offices have partnered with PRIME to provide grant capital and support program launch. Learn more at primecoalition.org.
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Executive Director, PRIME Coalition