Stuebi To Join ESP

Richard Stuebi to Join Early Stage Partners as Energy Partner


December 1, 2008, Cleveland, OH -- The Cleveland Foundation and Early Stage Partners today announced a joint arrangement to employ Richard Stuebi in pursuing their complementary interests in advanced energy. 

Stuebi, who has served as the foundation’s BP Fellow for Energy and Environmental Advancement since March 2006, will continue his affiliation with the foundation beyond the expiration of his current three-year fellowship. He will remain a senior fellow at the foundation, leading an economic development initiative to create a vibrant regional economic cluster in advanced energy technologies and businesses.

Stuebi also will join ESP as a managing director responsible for the firm’s investments in advanced energy and other ventures in “cleantech,” a word commonly used to describe products or services that improve productivity or efficiency while reducing costs, energy consumption, waste, or pollution. Beginning immediately, Mr. Stuebi will assist ESP in raising capital, and over time will dedicate an increasing share of his time to the firm with a commensurate decrease in his time serving the foundation.

“The Cleveland Foundation is always eager to collaborate with its valued partners to achieve success in our community,” said Ronn Richard, president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. “The foundation is one of the founding investors in ESP, and both organizations recognize the need to increase entrepreneurial activity in our region to help revitalize the economy. We are pleased to share Richard’s time with ESP – one of the premier venture capital firms in Cleveland – because we both understand that strengthening local venture investment in cleantech is an essential cornerstone for building a robust advanced energy cluster.

“Ultimately, Greater Cleveland will benefit most from this arrangement because we retain Richard’s knowledge and expertise here in our region.”

James Petras, cofounder and managing director of ESP, noted that the addition of Stuebi positions ESP to become the region’s leading venture capital firm for cleantech opportunities.

"Even though the cleantech sector is one of the fastest growing and most promising segments in the venture capital world, few firms between the east and west coasts have someone focusing their time and attention on it,” said Petras. “Given his unusually long history in this field, Richard can offer a wealth of experience and contacts to our existing portfolio companies and help ESP make better investments in this exciting arena.”

James D. Ireland III, another cofounder and managing director of ESP, added: “With Richard as part of our team, we believe few other early-stage venture firms nationally – much less those in the Midwest – are as well placed to capitalize financially on the fundamental trends driving increased global adoption of cleantech solutions.”

Under the arrangement, Stuebi, the foundation and ESP will be subject to stringent policies to protect against conflicts of interest. At the foundation, for example, he will have no involvement in grantmaking or investment activity, and will fully disclose his private-sector interests on a regular basis. At ESP, Stuebi will be subject to the firm’s partnership agreement and governance processes, including detailed independent due diligence and investment reviews.

“I am deeply grateful to the foundation for the profound privilege afforded me over the past 30 months, and for the opportunity to continue those efforts to work toward building an advanced energy cluster in the Greater Cleveland area,” Stuebi said. “I am also thankful to ESP for making room on their team for me to assist in the profitable emergence of thriving cleantech ventures. But most importantly, I am honored and humbled by the outpouring of support from my fellow Clevelanders encouraging my work to further the development of advanced energy in our region.”

About the Cleveland Foundation

Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world's first community foundation and the nation’s third-largest today, with assets of $2.2 billion and 2007 grants nearing $85 million. The foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. Currently the foundation proactively directs two-thirds of its flexible grant dollars to the community's greatest needs: economic transformation (including advanced energy and globalization), public school improvement, early childhood and youth development, neighborhoods and housing, and arts advancement.

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Richard Stuebi has spent his entire career in energy markets.