Exclusive: Silver Lake poaches cleantech star from DFJ

April 14, 2011, 6:58 PM UTC

Raj Atlaru

Raj Atluru has stepped down as a managing director with VC firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, where he has led cleantech investments since 2001 and its India investment operations since 2005. He will move on to Silver Lake Kraftwerk, the energy-focused growth equity platform formed earlier this year by Silver Lake Partners and Soros Fund Management.

Atluru becomes the third Kraftwerk partner, alongside ex-Foundation Capital investor Adam Grosser and Cathy Zoi, who previously was the Obama administration’s Acting Under Secretary for Energy and Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. A fourth partner is Martin Fichtner, who previously was a principal with Elevation Partners (kind of a homecoming, since he worked at Silver Lake as an associate between 2004 and 2006). Expect more hires as well, since Kraftwerk is said to be raising around $1 billion for its debut fund.

For Atluru and DFJ, this seems to reflect divergent investment interests. Atluru wants to do more deals in the so-called “cleantech gap” – or the capital-intensive space between venture capital and project finance/public offerings. DFJ wants to do more “cleantech-lite” deals, or early-stage software/IT companies that happen to have a cleantech component or sell into the energy vertical (i.e., more EnerNOCs, fewer CoalTeks – both of which are Atluru deals for DFJ).

Atluru’s current board seats include CoalTek, Great Point Energy, Konarka Technologies, Nanotune,Ping Identity, Scientific Conservation, Solicore Technologies and Varolii.

I played phone tag last night with Grosser, and will update this post if we manage to connect.