Ellen is a Vice President at SVB and based in New York City. As part of SVB’s Climate Technology and Sustainability team, Ellen focuses on helping energy technology clients grow their businesses through tailored banking and financing solutions. She is passionate about clean energy technologies, climate tech, food and agriculture, and innovative energy technologies — all working together to make energy production, distribution, and consumption more equitable and environmentally conscious for the global populace. Ellen joined SVB in 2014, and since then, she has worked with climate tech companies across the United States. In her free time, Ellen enjoys cooking, exploring, and playing with her two cats.
Venture – Advisors Downstate
Brandi Colander is an attorney and sustainability practitioner with public policy expertise who has testified before Congress and state governing bodies. Her work across sectors including advocacy, public service and corporate have allowed her to cultivate strategic partnerships with key stakeholders. As the Chief Sustainability Officer at WestRock Company she led the development and execution of a strategy to deliver innovative and sustainable solutions to customers around the world including the commitment of a science based target (SBT). Prior to joining WestRock she was a Principal at The Raben Group, supporting clients by advancing their policy and strategy needs, as well as Head of External Relations with Charter Communications creating diverse partnerships and philanthropic investments. Her public service includes a Presidential appointment as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the U.S. Department of the Interior advancing policy and regulations for the nation’s four energy development bureaus as well as Deputy General Counsel for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Colander serves as the Board Chair of the DC Green Bank Board of Directors, Yale School of the Environment Leadership Council member, and Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy board. She earned her Master of Environmental Management at Yale University, J.D. from Vermont Law School, and Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning from University of Virginia. Colander is a licensed attorney and member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She resides in Washington, DC with her family and affectionate but obstinate dog.
Zach Nies is Managing Director at Techstars for the Boulder program and a member of the faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His whole career has been dedicated to entrepreneurship at startups and inside large companies. He is using that experience guided by his core value of Learn, Do, Teach, Learn to help companies of all sizes successfully bring new products and services to market. At CU, he is an Advisory Board Member for the Silicon Flatirons Center and an Executive Advisory Board Member for the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Before joining Techstars, Zach was Chief Technologist at Rally Software.
Katie is a climate leader with over a decade of experience in international development, non-profit leadership, political organizing, business acceleration, and strategic partnerships within the climate space. Katie joined NYSERDA in February 2020 where she serves as the Director of Technology to Market managing a team responsible for accelerating climate solutions that New York State needs to reach its nation-leading climate goals.
Katie comes to NYSERDA from Greentown Labs, the largest cleantech incubator in the United States, where she was Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships responsible for corporate partnerships and industry accelerator programs. At Greentown, Katie designed and scaled the ‘Greentown Launch’ model for corporate / startup partnership development and ran first- of- a- kind programs in energy storage, hydrogen, solar materials, circular economy, and distributed energy resources.
Before Greentown Labs, Katie served as Executive Director of Cleantech Open Northeast, the region’s premier cleantech business accelerator. Katie has worked for organizations including the World Bank, 350.org, and Amherst College to build innovation programs, organize communities, and drive climate impact. Katie sits on the Board of 501CTHREE, a first of a kind non-profit dedicated to catalyzing social and entrepreneurial action on climate and water issues. Katie also serves on the Advisory Board of the Carbontech Leadership Council, a NYSERDA lead initiative focused on commercializing solutions that can turn CO2 waste into valuable products.
As Director of Investments for Clean Energy Ventures, Lou brings more than twenty years of experience as a technologist in large and small companies and investing in early and growth stage companies. In his investing role, Lou works with deal teams to source, screen, and diligence new investments, as well as support portfolio companies on technology, markets, strategy, and commercialization.
Prior to joining Clean Energy Ventures, Lou was co-founder, partner, and CTO at NewWorld Capital, which focused on investments in later stage clean energy companies. Notable investments at NewWorld included a pre-IPO round with Solar Edge and growth round with Astrum Solar.
Prior to NewWorld, Lou served as a Managing Director at Ritchie Capital, a hedge fund, where he oversaw a legacy portfolio of energy and environmental businesses. Prior to Ritchie, he also ran the high-power product line of direct methanol fuel cells for MTI micro overseeing a team of engineers developing battery replacement technologies for military and civilian application.
From 1997 to 2005, Lou held a variety of positions at General Electric’s Corporate Research and Energy groups. Lou facilitated GE’s entrance into both solar and wind energy. He also led GE’s solid oxide fuel cell program which developed novel cathode materials, hybrid cycles, and unique deposition-based manufacturing processes. In his role as head of the solid oxide fuel cell program, Lou led a team with more than 100 scientists and researchers in five facilities and participated in strategic partnership negotiations, mergers and acquisitions, and government relations.
Lou currently serves on the advisory committee for National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine Climate Communications Initiative and has participated in expert panels and the assessment of ARPAe awards. Lou is an active speaker at energy and technology conferences and has established a strong network of relationships with national labs and university technology and TLOs to help commercialize innovative technologies.
Lou was trained as a physicist and co-authored papers in accelerator physics, space physics, and biophysics as well as earning ten granted US patents. He holds a B.S. in Physics from Union College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and an M.S. in Physics from Cornell University.
Ramsay is a Partner at Earthshot Ventures, a new venture capital fund launched to support entrepreneurs tackling climate change. The fund is designed to bring together new and existing networks in the climate tech space to more rapidly scale critical solutions. Previously, Ramsay worked as the managing director Elemental’s accelerator. She looked after core accelerator functions: the portfolio of 117 companies, the accelerator curriculum, dealflow e ngine, and the selection process.
Ramsay has worked in climate tech commercialization. She supported the growth of Sequoia and DBL-backed smart metering startup eMeter which was acquired by Siemens AG. Following the acquisitions, she supported the international expansion of eMeter’s software technology through channel partners in the Asia Pacific region. Prior to that, she developed solar PV projects for public sector clients in Northern California.
Ramsay graduated with a Bachelor of Policy, Management and Planning with a Minor in Architecture from the University of Southern California. She also holds a Master of Planning and Design from the University of Melbourne with a graduate research thesis on smart grid planning and communication.
Outside of the office, she is an artist, traveler, and data enthusiast.
Alex is currently heading IKEA Energy Services — a business on a mission to democratize clean energy. He also leads sustainable innovation and corporate business development, related strategic investments and partnerships. Before joining IKEA, Alex headed global functions across R&D, Engineering, and Supply Chain for leading multinationals in the Food Processing & Packaging, Medical Device, and Automotive industries. His experience also includes seeding and advising startups in different sectors.
Alex holds Mechanical and Industrial Engineering degrees from Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain) and Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (Denmark), an Executive M.B.A. with specializations in sustainability and innovation from University of Reading, University of Cambridge, and Harvard Business School respectively (UK and US).
Following a passion for sustainability driven business development, innovatio, and entrepreneurship, Alex enjoys investing in and engaging with organizations driving sustainable growth and positive impact. He lives with his family in Malmö, Sweden.
Pulakesh is Managing Partner at Imperative Ventures. Before Imperative, Pulakesh spent ten years at BASF Venture Capital sourcing and executing investments in the energy, agriculture, chemical, and industrial sectors. During that time he served as a director or observer on the boards of early stage technology companies. Prior to his role in venture capital, Pulakesh gained over ten years of experience in international business development, sales, marketing, and chemical process scale-up while working at BASF. He serves on the NREL Investor Advisory Board and is an advisor and mentor at Cyclotron Road and Creative Destruction Lab.
Pulakesh has a PhD from Stanford University and a M.Sc. from IIT Kanpur, India. He has published in peer-reviewed journals and has co-authored more than 15 patents.
Seth is a partner and co-founder at Boulder-based Foundry Group focusing on making early-stage technology investments, participating in select growth rounds, and identifying and supporting the next generation of venture fund managers. In addition to his work at Foundry, Seth is active in the global entrepreneurial ecosystem as a founding board member of The Unreasonable Institute, an advisor to Palestinian-focused venture fund Sadara, and advisor to Nairobi-based Ingressive Capital, as well as an advisor and mentor to a number of other venture funds and companies globally. Seth co-founded Pledge 1%, a global network of over 7,000 companies who have pledged equity, time and product back to their local communities. He founded Colorado Entrepreneurial By Nature and is also on the board of StartupColorado, which promotes entrepreneurship in areas of Colorado outside of the front range. He is a Trustee of Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. You can find him on Twitter at @sether or online at www.sethlevine.com.
Rasha is the Vice President of Innovation and Product Management Excellence for Trane Technologies. She is a seasoned executive and innovation leader with a proven track record in product management, product marketing, engineering, strategy, planning, and lean thinking. Over a series of leadership roles for GE, SAP, Hitatchi, Lucent Technologies, and GM, Rasha developed a keen sense of transforming the customer experience through data-driven solutions. Throughout her career, she has consistently leveraged her technical and business background to bridge the gap between market expectations and technology solutions in engineering-driven companies.
Rasha is also Executive Director of Trane Technologies’ Center for Healthy and Efficient Spaces (CHES). The center serves as a convening resource to unify and scale strategies and solutions to create safer, healthier, and more efficient environments across the breadth of the company’s business portfolio – including spaces in homes, buildings, and transportation. As executive director, she leads engagement with integrated internal and external advisory councils and technology partners. In leading both innovation and CHES, she is the focal point for Trane Technologies on the topics of indoor environmental quality, bringing innovative thinking and a customer focused approach to this critical topic.