Stephan has worked with entrepreneurial companies for four decades. He started as a corporate attorney working with Silicon Valley’s leading venture funds, biotechnology companies and global pharmaceutical firms. In 1999, Stephan switched from corporate law to venture capital, joining VantagePoint Capital Partners. At VantagePoint, he founded the Firm’s CleanTech practice, leading the group from its inception in 2002, building one of the largest Clean Technology practices in the world and making more than $1 billion in CleanTech company investments. Recognizable investments include Tesla Motors, BrightSource Energy, and Solazyme. He has been an active participant in a number of CleanTech advisory groups, including the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) Leadership Council, the Center for American Progress (CAP) Clean Tech Council, the Advisory Board of The CleanTech Group, as well as RMI’s eLab Advisory team. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Virginia School of Architecture and served on the University of Texas Energy Management and Innovation Center Advisory Board. At VantagePoint, Mr. Dolezalek also previously served as head or co-head of the Firm’s Software and Life Sciences Groups. He has a BCP from the University of Virginia School of Architecture and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law.
EXPERIENCE AT THE DISTRIBUTION EDGE
I have invested in a range of solar, wind, battery and smart grid companies, including Miasole (now Hanergy), 1366, Ogin, Premium Power, Amprius, Trilliant, Tendril, AlertMe as well as Tesla Motors and I have been integrally involved in distributed generation and management of energy systems at the distribution edge since 2002.
NOTABLE PROJECT EXPERIENCE AND AREAS OF CONTENT EXPERTISE
My core expertise involves researching and investing in areas of transformative change driven by a combination of technology and entrepreneurial talent. Over four decades I have worked with what today are some of the world’s most recognizable companies and have developed a keen sense of what separates these disruptive companies and their leaders from the hundreds of also-rans. I have also worked extensively to structure partnering relationships between these startup companies and the much larger industry incumbents in the areas they are disrupting.
DESCRIBE WHAT YOU WANT TO OFFER TEAMS TRYING TO ACCELERATE THEIR PROJECTS
I am interested in assisting teams that themselves are trying to address issues that severely test conventional wisdom, both from a perspective of helping them achieve the impossible, but also from a perspective of knowing many, if not most, of the potential paths to failure. Balancing an optimistic and opportunistic viewpoint with decades of hard lessons learned has left me eager to assist others just starting down that journey.
WHAT PERSONALLY MOTIVATES YOU TO WORK ON ISSUES AT THE DISTRIBUTION EDGE?
I believe that distributed generation of renewables, the development of affordable and reliable energy storage mechanisms and the intelligent and automated management of energy flows at the grid’s edge is one of the most important issues of our time. Although I am a long-term believer in the “cloud management,” i.e., combined centralized and distributed management of energy systems, I see the next decade being heavily focused on first deploying and then intelligently managing distributed energy systems. I’m obviously hugely interested in the investment opportunities that these changes represent, but I am also personally convinced that our global well-being requires us to pursue these solutions.