Good Energies recruits Benchmark Europe co-founder

The energy investment firm has continued its rapid growth by recruiting George Coelho, a venture capital veteran. Good Energies has an approximate €3bn holding in Q-Cells, a solar energy company.

George Coelho has left Balderton Capital to join Good Energies, a renewable energy investment firm owned by COFRA, the holding company of the Brenninkmeijer family.

Q-Cells: a €6.3bn 

Coelho will become head of the company’s venture team as well as a managing director. He will also be responsible for European solar energy investments.

A spokesman said Balderton would not be seeking a replacement for Coelho. Coelho was one of the team that originally set up Benchmark Capital Europe in 2000. In 2007, Benchmark’s European team became independent from Benchmark’s US team, becoming Balderton.

Previously Coelho led Intel Corporation’s venture capital investments outside the US. He was a founder of the group that become Intel Capital and ran the mergers and acquisitions team as assistant treasurer. Previously he worked in a number of senior positions in corporate finance at Nomura Securities, a Japanese bank, Union Bank of Switzerland, a Swiss bank, and Bank of America, a US bank.

Good Energies has been growing rapidly in the last two years increasing its team from 6 to 65 and the number of managing directors from 2 to 10 during this time, according to the company spokesman.

The firm initially invested in solar energy, but it has branched out into wind, project finance and energy savings buildings, the spokesman said. The Brenninkmeijer family, which originally owned the retail chain C&A, is a large investor in private equity through its family office COFRA, which provides Good Energies with €350 million to invest annually. Good Energies has more than €4 billion under management.

The renewable energy investment firm holds a minority stake approaching 50 percent in Q-Cells, a German-listed solar energy company. The firm last year sold a 12.5 percent stake in Renewable Energy Corporation, a silicon supplier, for €1.1 billion ($1.7 billion) to Orkla, a Norwegian-listed holding group, according to the spokesman. The company also exchanged a 12.7 percent stake in Renewable Energy Corporation with Q-Cells to increase its holding in the solar company. Q-Cells Market capitalisation is €6.3 billion. 

Good Energies has offices in Switzerland, the UK, the US and Canada. It is planning to open an office in Asia, the spokesman said.

In December Balderton Capital’s Ynon Kreiz resigned as a partner at Balderton Capital.

Roberto Bonanzinga joined the firm as a partner in October last year, after 15 years working with entrepreneurs in the US and in Europe as a founder, manager, non-executive director and adviser. In September Tim Bunting, a former Goldman Sachs banker, joined the firm in a full-time role after working part-time with the firm.

In March Balderton sold a 15.7 percent stake in Bebo, a social networking site, to AOL, the online giant. The sale generated approximately $140 million (€89.9 million), more than nine times its initial investment. Another Balderton investment, MySQL, an open source database company, was recently sold to Sun Microsystems, a technology company, for approximately $1 billion.