Principal Investing

15 Years in the making 

Over the past fifteen years, we have successfully invested in a number of start-up development opportunities in the energy sector. Our first principal investment started with a $21,000 investment in a single wind energy project which quickly became Ventus Energy and ended three short years later in a sale to GDF SUEZ for over $200 million. We next decided to start-up the development of Champlain Hudson Power Express which is a 1,000 MW HVDC transmission line from Montreal to New York City using an innovative water route down the Hudson River. The sale to Blackstone in 2010, paved the way for the development of several more HVDC transmission projects. (see Notable Principal Investments for a description of each of these).

Our Competitive Advantage

We firmly believe that start-up and early-stage investing provide the maximum opportunity for superior returns and that risk can be significantly mitigated through our operational experience and direct managerial involvement.

We have leaned many valuable lessons along the way. Some of our investment principles that have evolved over time that we consider in our decision to risk capital are outlined below:

  • Invest our time and capital in large, scalable and potentially global opportunities that will have no problem "moving the performance dial" for large potential sponsors/acquirers;
  • Seek out early-stage high growth investment opportunities that are typically created by macro influences to an economy or industry. Many of these opportunities involve innovative structural change to an industry;
  • Invest where we co-control and operate;
  • Execute with small teams. Prefer our investee companies capitalize on our long-standing relationships with key suppliers to outsource functional expertise and experience in order to accelerate growth and value creation. We firmly believe that to remain nimble with the ability to briskly adapt is a competitive advantage compared to larger organizations;
  • Use best technology to effectively communicate;
  • Mitigate development risk through a portfolio approach;
  • Focus on being right rather than conservative;
  • Develop projects knowing what sponsors need now;
  • Promote a “skunk works” environment that relishes innovative and novel new investment ideas that can be exhaustively researched;
  • Substantially mitigate risk through relentless due diligence and seasoned skepticism:
  • For each investment, we identify a series of value creating milestones so we can develop an execution plan to achieve them in a timely manner.

An Entrepreneur's Windfall

Just four years ago, John Douglas was struggling to raise money to run Ventus Energy, a wind farm company he operated from his house. Yesterday, global energy company Suez bought the company for $124-million.

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Lake Erie Cross-border Power-line

Project reaches milestone: A bold plan to build a billion-dollar underwater electrical transmission line across Lake Erie has reached a crucial milestone with filings to key regulators in Canada and the United States.

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