The Illinois Clean Energy Innovation Fund (ICEIF), administered by Clean Energy Trust, makes direct investments in high-potential, early-stage, Illinois-based cleantech companies to support innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation in Illinois’ cleantech sector. The ICEIF provides critical funding where capital is often scarce. The ICEIF was seeded by grant funds from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and overseen by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
The ICEIF is structured as a revolving investment fund: capital returned to the fund upon a liquidity event (when a company is acquired or goes public) or repayment is used to replenish the fund for future investments and fund administration. This structure is known as an “evergreen” funding model that can self-sustain into the future and continue to provide much-needed capital to promising cleantech ventures in Illinois.
To date, the ICEIF has invested a total of $2.9 million in 11 Illinois-based companies, which have gone on to raise tens of millions of dollars in follow-on investments and currently employ over 200 people.
Investment Decision Process
Investment decisions for the ICEIF are made in conjunction with Clean Energy Trust’s investment process. Companies apply for funding and Clean Energy Trust conducts a thorough review and diligence process. Companies under consideration are reviewed by and meet with Clean Energy Trust’s Investment Committee, which is comprised of independent investors.
The Investment Committee is charged with ensuring that the ICEIF recognizes maximum value from the investment funds deployed and relies on the rigorous analysis presented by Clean Energy Trust staff, outlining the risks and market potential of the investment decision.
The Illinois Clean Energy Innovation Fund Portfolio
- Adequate capitalization with potential for follow-on investment;
- Active development of products or services that address market need;
- Unit economics that show pathway to profitability;
- Documented customer interest; and
- An established governance structure.