By Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar
Many venture capital firms invest in clean energy, and some talk about the benefits of investing with social impacts in mind. But there’s only one Nancy Pfund. Nancy is founder and managing partner of DBL Partners. DBL is an acronym for double bottom line, referring to the notion of seeking both financial and social returns simultaneously.
What makes Nancy unique? For one, she’s excellent at what she does. She’s batting way above average when it comes to investing in successful cleantech companies. Her portfolio includes Tesla; rooftop leader SolarCity; both PowerLight and NEXTracker; Advanced Microgrid Solutions in the storage space; and the eponymous Off Grid Electric, delivering power, via solar, to 600 million people who’ve never had access to it in developing nations around the world.
Her success validates the important premise that one can do well by doing good. But what I admire more than her success is her activism. Successful businesspeople have a platform, and Nancy uses hers to influence the dialogue around clean energy with policymakers and the broader public. She prepares deeply researched papers on subjects such as the history of robust subsidies enjoyed by fossil fuels compared to renewables; the truth that increasing renewable energy does not, in fact, send electricity prices sky-rocketing; and the job-creating reality of our growing clean-energy economy.
Nancy understands that policy is a contact sport, and she is very effective in smacking back the pervasive misinformation that the opponents of renewables work so hard to perpetuate. Nancy has a vision of a better world and doesn’t just put her money where her mouth is, but also her mouth where her money is.