Section 2 : Keynote Panel: Investors' Insights - "Why We Invested, Where, and What's Next"
Alex Robart is an energy- and technology-focused entrepreneur and investor, with deep expertise in upstream oil and gas and the oilfield services and equipment value chain. Together with his twin brother, he has launched, built, and sold two software, data, and research companies focused on upstream oil and gas. He is an active angel investor in energy and general technology companies. He is the Managing Director of Unconventional Capital, an investment vehicle focused on digital oilfield opportunities.
Mr. Robart has nearly 15 years of consulting experience in oil and gas, energy, and a range of other industries. He and his partners built PacWest Consulting Partners into one of the premier consulting and market research/data firms focused on the oilfield services sector; PacWest was acquired by IHS in 2014. Alex is also a co-founder of Digital H2O, a data and analytics software company that helps companies optimize oilfield water management. Unconventional Capital is partnered with a leading oilfield services focused private equity firm and is building an integrated digital oilfield products and services provider through acquisitions and organic re-investment.
Climate Impact Capital (CIC)
Alex Rozenfeld is the Founder and General Partner of Climate Impact Capital (CIC), one of the few early stage funds addressing climate mitigation and adaption. CIC is currently focusing on the Energy-Food-Water Nexus, working with and searching for technology companies with the potential for international market leadership. With 20 years of energy and innovation experience, Mr. Rozenfeld has worked extensively internationally as an entrepreneur, angel investor, and venture capitalist for Fortune 500 companies. His main focus has been on bringing corporations and entrepreneurs together to impact one of the world’s largest challenges – sustainable and plentiful energy access. Notable roles have included being part of the development of the earliest H2 vehicle station in California, an international GameChanger, and most recently the founding member and President at Shell Technology Ventures, LLC. Alex is an active supporter of the Texas energy entrepreneurship community. He is the energy co-chair of the Houston Angels Network, Advisory Board member of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, and an active advisor to the Houston Technology Center. Alex holds a BSE from Princeton University and MBA from MIT’s Sloan School
Water Planet, Inc.
For over two decades, I have dedicated my life’s work to education, research, engineering, innovation, entrepreneurial and philanthropic activities related to my passion – clean water.
Experience: I currently serve as the CEO of Water Planet, Inc. where we are commercializing next-generation membrane filtration technology to enable sustainable water reuse. Previously, I was an engineering professor at UCLA and UC Riverside from 2002 to 2014; I’ve been on leave from UCLA since January 2014 to run Water Planet. At UCLA, I am a faculty member in Civil & Environmental Engineering, the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability and the California NanoSystems Institute. I also helped create the UCLA Water Technology Research Center, the UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology and the KAUST-Cornell Center for Energy & Sustainability.
Academic Experience: Since the late 1990’s my research has focused on understanding and improving membrane materials, modules, processes and systems applied to desalination, water reuse and environmental remediation. Since 2002, I have generated over $4.5M in externally funded research projects, including >$870k in active grants, and I was part of 3 teams that raised over $50M in funding for 3 research centers. I have published over 150 scientific publications and 16 patents. Currently, I am the Editor-in-Chief of the new Nature Publishing Group journal npj Clean Water, and I am under contract by J. Wiley & Sons to author a textbook on Membrane Science & Technology. Previously, I was associate editor of the international journal Desalination and I co-edited the Encyclopedia of Membrane Science & Technology. I have received numerous awards including the 2012 ASCE Walter L. Huber Award, 2007 Public Works Magazine Trendsetter Award, the 2008/2013/2016 Global Water Awards Tech Idol, and the Global Cleantech List of 100 Ones to Watch.
Industrial Experience: I have served as a consultant or advisor on numerous municipal water reuse and desalination projects, private technology companies, US federal, state and local agencies, law firms, private research foundations, non-profit foundations and foreign national research agencies. In 2012, I embarked on a 5-year collaboration with Global Classrooms for Peace to improve sanitation and drinking water for villages and settlements on remote islands of Fiji. I also consulted on the cleanup of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the summer of 2010. I have been a part of the creation of 4 UCLA-based startup companies including NanoH2O (nanotechnology based RO membranes; acquired by LG Chem in 2014), Water Planet (artificial intelligence filtration system controls, 2011-present), PolyCera Technologies (polymer nanofiber UF membranes; acquired by Water Planet in 2013), and Hydrophilix (novel RO membrane material; formed in 2016 with UCLA Chemistry Professor Ric Kaner).
Tech Ventures Corporation
John Freisinger is the President and CEO of Technology Ventures Corporation, a non-profit 501C(3) organization founded to help the federally funded laboratories commercialize their research. Formed in 1993, Technology Ventures utilizes an entrepreneur-centric, venture capital model to accelerate the adoption of laboratory research for the benefit of U.S. economic competitiveness. In the 21 years of operation, TVC has assisted entrepreneurs in raising over $1.3 billion in equity financing, form 125 new companies and create more than 13,500 jobs.
Before joining TVC, Mr. Freisinger worked in a range of leadership roles with several venture-backed entrepreneurial companies including COO of Smart Systems Technologies and VP of Sales and Marketing for Essential Communications. His successful exits include sales to two publicly-traded companies, SBS Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:SBSE) and ODS/Intrusion.com (Nasdaq:INTZ).
Mr. Freisinger’s early work was conducted in the former Soviet republics with Access Russia, a data retrieval company focused on Russian open-source information and as a sales trainer for Coca-Cola Refreshments Moscow.
John is a graduate of the University of New Mexico where he currently teaches classes in Entrepreneurism. He is a founding member of the Laudate Men’s Choir and resides in Albuquerque, NM with his wife and twin children.
CAP Resources is a Houston-based oil and gas and technology consultancy which specializes in market assessment, strategy development for emerging market opportunities, technology commercialization, operations planning, due diligence / transaction support services, and aggressive growth strategies for technology and service companies and their investors.
The firm’s president, Laura Capper, brings 25 years of experience in managing technology commercialization and aggressive growth strategies for public and private companies including integrated oil and gas companies, oilfield service companies, technology transfer offices, and private equity and venture capital firms. Over the last 20 years, CAP Resources has serviced over 600 clients and contributed to the development of over $3.0 Billion in value associated with new venture launches as well as support for mergers, acquisitions and investment activity.
Beginning in 2007, a primary focus of the firm has been matters related to domestic and international unconventional exploration and production trends and practices, water management and treatment technologies, and environmental and waste handling practices in the oilfield, among other areas of the firm’s specialties. Over this period, CAP Resources has authored a series of in-depth reports tracking the state of Water Management and investment opportunities in U.S. and World unconventional shale plays. CAP Resources has helped assess some 400 providers of water treatment services, numerous fixed facilities, and a breadth of proprietary technology providers. In 2016 the firm will be releasing a report on best practices and risk management related to liquid waste handling and disposal wells.