130+ years of collective experience building companies that matter. We are trusted partners with a proven history of supporting our companies.
Persistence is our most distinctive value
We seek out company leadership teams that share our vision for building transformative companies with long-term market impacts. Our teams play the long game, and their cultures are anchored in both impact and purpose. We are operators, investors and believers. We work tirelessly with our companies because we know how hard it is to build great businesses.
The Activate Team
David LincolnManaging Partner
Anna NitschkeChief Operating Officer
Anup JacobManaging Partner
Caroline ChickSenior Associate
Raj AtluruManaging Partner
Phyllis ReidDirector of Finance
Susan StellaHead of Investor Relations & Impact
Karina DiazSenior Accountant
Emma BellVice President
Patti SzczepaniakChief Administrative Officer
David has been a prominent investor in venture and growth equity for 25 years and has founded and led multiple firms investing over $1 billion in energy and clean technology.
Prior to co-founding Activate, David was the founder and Managing Partner of Element Partners, an $860 million series of funds dedicated to a broad range of investments in clean technology. From 1996 to 2005, David was also a Co-Founder and Managing Director of EnerTech Capital, one of the first venture capital firms formed to invest specifically in the deregulation and transition of the global electric markets. From 1991 to 1996 David served as President and CEO of Deven Resources, Inc., a private equity firm dedicated to the acquisition and development of energy properties; and from 1984 to 1991, David was a partner with CMS Companies, a Philadelphia-based investment and financial services firm.
David has also been an active participant helping to shape federal policy for the venture capital and growth equity industry. As a board member of the National Venture Capital Association for four years, David chaired the NVCA Energy & Cleantech Committee and worked with policymakers to promote capital formation for technology companies focused on US energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. In addition, as the 2014-15 Chair of the NVCA Growth Equity Group, David worked with industry participants, research firms and policymakers to establish and benchmark Growth Equity as a distinct asset class within private equity.
David holds a BA in Geology (with honors) from Colgate University, an MS in Energy Management and Policy from the University of Pennsylvania and is active in addressing the Philadelphia public schools’ crisis as an executive committee board member with City Year of Philadelphia.
Chief Operating Officer
Anna is Chief Operating Officer at Activate, where she leads and oversees the firm’s day-to-day and strategic operations.
Prior to Activate, Anna was CFO at Pear VC, where she managed all financial functions of the firm and its funds, LP relations & reporting, and ran the internal operations spanning legal, compliance, and HR matters. Previously, she led finance and operations at Eniac Ventures. Before entering the venture capital world, Anna worked in business operations for over a decade at various startups, using her broad background in finance, operations, human resources and administration management to help companies scale.
Anna holds a BA in Business Management Economics from University of California, Santa Cruz. She sits on the board of VCBC, a non-profit association of finance professionals in the venture capital industry. She also serves as Treasurer for Let’s Talk Ops, a non-profit organization that brings together the top operational, cross-discipline talent fueling today’s venture capital community. In her free time, Anna enjoys cycling & hiking across the Bay Area with her family and throwing dinner parties for friends.
Anup has been investing over 20 years in energy, water and industrial technology businesses. He has served on multiple private and public company boards and chaired audit and compensation committees.
Prior to co-founding Activate, Anup was a founder and partner at several private equity firms including Mubadala Capital, an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund. Prior to Mubadala, he was a Managing Partner at Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala focused on sustainable investments advancing renewable energy globally. From 2007 to 2013, Anup was a Co-Founder and Partner at Virgin Green Fund, the green investment vehicle for Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, a growth equity firm investing in the renewable energy and resource efficiency sectors. From 1999 to 2007 Anup was a Partner at TPG-Aqua where he focused on investments in the water sector. Throughout his career, Anup has served on several company boards including Stem (NYSE: STEM), Volta (NYSE: VLTA) and current investments Boosted, Passport Labs and PosiGen.
Anup has served at a national judge for the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, the Financial Times/Just Means Social Innovations Awards, Zayed Future Energy Prize, the MIT Clean Energy Prize and has been a keynote speaker at several conferences including the Norwegian Govt Enova Initiative, California’s BlueTech Valley and for MBA students at Yale SOM & MIT.
Anup holds a degree in Economics, with honors, from the University of Chicago and is also on the non-profit board of Grid Alternatives, which aims to bring renewable energy to low-income homeowners and is a Founding Member of the Advisory Board of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. In his free time, Anup enjoys running with his dog, surfing and Burning Man.
Caroline is a Senior Associate at Activate, where she supports all parts of the investment process.
Prior to joining Activate, Caroline was an investment banker at Nomura Greentech, where she provided M&A and capital raise advisory for companies focused on accelerating the sustainable transition. She has experience working with both early growth stage and public companies across the advanced transportation, energy technology, and environmental services sectors.
Caroline holds a degree in Finance with minors in History and Spanish, with honors, from The Ohio State University. She was a recipient of the Pace Setters Award, given to the top 1% of students in the business school on the basis of academics and leadership. In her free time, Caroline enjoys running, traveling/backpacking, cycling, live music and exploring new coffee shops/cocktail bars in San Francisco.
Avery is an Associate at Activate, where she supports all aspects of the investment process.
Prior to joining Activate, Avery was an investment banker at Nomura Greentech, a climate tech focused bank accelerating the sustainable transition, where she focused on M&A advisory and capital formation for private and public companies across the advanced transportation and energy technology sectors.
Avery graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Chemical Engineering. In her free time, Avery enjoys climbing, camping, and hiking.
Eric is a Principal at Activate, where he focuses on deal sourcing, due diligence, execution and supporting portfolio companies post-investment. He is a Board Observer at portfolio companies Voltus, Omnidian, PosiGen, Fictiv, Parsable and Element Analytics.
Prior to joining Activate, Eric was an Associate at ValueAct Capital, an activist hedge fund, where he covered investment ideas spanning several sectors including energy and industrials. Eric began his career as a business analyst at McKinsey & Company in their Silicon Valley office.
Eric holds a degree in Chemistry from Yale University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated as a Palmer Scholar. In his free time, Eric enjoys the combination of fresh air and healthy middle-aged competition by playing soccer and golfing during the summer and skiing in the winter.
Bringing decades of experience in strategy, operations and corporate development, Jon was most recently CEO and co-founder of Dalkia Energy Solutions (formerly Groom Energy), a national building energy efficiency company in the commercial and industrial sector, that was acquired by French multinational utility company, EDF. Jon is also co-founder and chairman of Therm Solutions, a refrigerant carbon credit development company, and was co-founder and board member of Digital Lumens, a venture-backed LED lighting company, that was acquired by Osram.
Prior to Groom Energy, Jon was a general partner at Charles River Ventures (CRV), where he was lead investor, board member and advisor for enterprise software and service companies including BeFree (acquired by ValueClick), eDocs (acquired by Siebel Systems), Vignette (VIGN), Virtusa (VRTU) and Xign Corporation (acquired by JP Morgan Chase). Before CRV, Jon held senior management positions at Open Market, a start-up ecommerce software company that went public in 1996, and served in a variety of senior product marketing and sales management roles with both Hewlett Packard and JP Morgan. Jon is a Board Member of portfolio company Tomorrow.io.
Jon holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Duke University and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Jon is also a past member and committee chair of Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering Board of Visitors as well as the Board of Visitors at The Museum of Science in Boston. In his free time, Jon enjoys hiking, golfing, skiing and walking the dogs, all with the family as much as possible.
Raj has been investing at the intersection of technology and energy, transportation and industrial systems for 25 years and has had the honor of working with many of the early pioneers in these markets. Raj has founded three private investment firms focused on sustainability over the previous three decades.
Prior to co-founding Activate, Raj was a Founder of Silver Lake Kraftwerk, a private equity fund focused on the energy and resource sectors. From 2000 to 2011, Raj was a Managing Director at Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), where he founded the firm’s cleantech and India investment practices. DFJ was an early investor in companies that created entirely new markets with visionary founders – Baidu, Skype, Tesla, SpaceX, Solar City, EnerNOC, Box, Athena Healthcare, Redfin and Ping Identity. In 2005, Raj co-founded DFJ Element with Activate co-founder David Lincoln – the leading dedicated cleantech firm of its vintage. Raj has served on over 25 public, private and nonprofit boards including SolarCity (SCTY), Ping Identity (PING), EnerNOC (ENOC), Parnassus Funds and current investments Generate Capital, Voltus, Flexe, Altana AI, Nozomi, Swimlane, Ridecell and Omnidian.
Raj holds BS and MS degrees in Environmental Engineering and an MBA from Stanford University, where he began his lifelong passion for renewable energy systems. He was previously a Sandia National Labs research associate, an Aspen Fellow, and founder of an educational non profit, The Spotlight Foundation. In his free time, Raj enjoys skiing the steeps, hiking and cooking for his family in San Francisco.
Director of Finance
Phyllis oversees financial operations at Activate, where she focuses on its Funds including audit, tax and financial reporting. In addition, she manages SEC Compliance and cybersecurity.
Prior to joining Activate, Phyllis was the Director of Finance & Administration for EnerTech Capital Partners, an energy technology venture firm. In addition to managing the financial reporting for EnerTech’s funds, she was responsible for SEC, legal and tax matters. Phyllis was also a consultant for TL Ventures, a broadly diversified technology investor where she managed the financial reporting and investor accounts for three of TL Ventures’ funds. Phyllis began her career with KPMG, working in its audit and assurance group in the Information, Communications & Entertainment practice.
Phyllis holds a degree in Accounting from Rowan University and was CPA certified from 1998 to 2007. Phyllis enjoys music, photography and outdoor activities with her family, especially time spent at the beach (Cape May), camping and kayaking.
Evan is an associate on the Activate team, where he supports all parts of the investment process.
Prior to joining Activate, Evan was an Equity Research Analyst at Barclays in New York City, where he published research on emergent energy transition technologies and public companies across the Power & Utilities sector. Evan also has experience working with music and healthtech startups through the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.
Evan holds degrees in Economics and Human & Organizational Development, with honors, from Vanderbilt University. In his free time, Evan enjoys scuba diving, wildlife photography, cooking and watching nature documentaries.
Head of Investor Relations & Impact
Susan oversees all investor engagement and IR activities, marketing and communications as well as ESG initiatives and management across the firm.
Prior to Activate, Susan provided strategic consulting to the private equity and venture capital industry. Her clients include multi-billion-dollar private equity funds, up-and-coming venture funds, and industry associations. Prior to her work as a consultant, she was Principal and Director of Investor Relations and Marketing with Knightsbridge Advisers, Director of the Thunderbird Global Private Equity Center, Marketing Co-Chair of the Thunderbird Independent Alumni Association, and Partner/Co-Founder at Venture Archetypes, a strategic advisory firm.
Her background also includes professional assignments with Intel; the German Ministry of Economics and Labor; Roland Berger Strategy Consultants in Germany; and the US Peace Corps and United Nations, as part of a three-year stint living and working in Mongolia.
Susan holds a degree, with honors, from Drake University and an MBA in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management, where she received the highest honor awarded to a single graduate, the Barton Kyle Yount Award. Susan is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of global exchange nonprofit Cultural Vistas and sits on the Sanctuary Advisory Committee of Mass Audubon Wildwood Camp. In her free time, Susan enjoys traveling, XC skiing and kayaking with her family.
Karina is Activate’s Senior Accountant, where she supports all aspects of financial operations for the firm and the funds.
Prior to Activate, Karina held a variety of accounting roles over the last 20 years at executive search, pharmaceutical, healthcare and non-profit firms with responsibilities including financial analysis, payroll processing, accounts payable/receivable, invoice management and account reconciliation.
Karina holds a degree in Business Administration, with honors, from Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos in Mexico. In her free time, Karina enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, traveling, and listening to health and wellbeing podcasts.
Paul is a Principal at Activate, where he focuses on deal sourcing, due diligence, execution and supporting portfolio companies post-investment. He is a Board Observer at portfolio companies Flexe, Ridecell, KlearNow and Optimal Dynamics.
Prior to Activate, Paul was an Associate at Element Partners where he worked closely with numerous portfolio companies and evaluated new investment opportunities within energy, transportation, industrial software and other sustainable technology sectors. Paul began his career at Piper Jaffray & Co. where he focused on mergers and acquisitions for diversified industrial and applied technology companies.
Paul holds a degree in Public Policy and a minor in Economics from Duke University. In his free time, Paul enjoys being outdoors (in the alpine or ocean, and on the golf course), playing with his dog Rhubarb, reading biographies, live music and exploring new cities one meal at a time.
Emma is a Vice President at Activate, where she focuses on deal sourcing, due diligence, execution and supporting portfolio companies post-investment. She is a Board Observer at portfolio companies Tomorrow.io and PosiGen.
Prior to joining Activate, Emma was a Vice President at Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP), where she worked closely with portfolio companies and evaluated new technology-enabled infrastructure investments across the energy, mobility and circular economy sectors. Prior to joining SIP, Emma was an Investment Associate on JP Morgan’s Renewable Energy Investments team. Emma began her career at JP Morgan as an Investment Banking Analyst in their New York office.
Emma holds a degree in Operations Research Engineering and a minor in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University. In her free time, Emma enjoys the outdoors, reading books on modern sociology and spending time with family in Chicago.
Leila is an Associate at Activate, where she supports all aspects of the investment process.
Prior to joining Activate, Leila was a Consultant at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Toronto, where she worked on climate and sustainability projects with institutional investors, NGOs, and corporations. She was selected for BCG’s Social Impact Immersion Program, where she focused on decarbonization technologies for hard-to-abate industries, nature-based solutions, carbon markets, and emissions measurement platforms. Prior to BCG, Leila participated in a fellowship program at Cape York Partnership in Australia, where she worked on a project supporting economic development in Indigenous communities.
Leila graduated with high honors from the University of Toronto with a degree in Finance and Economics and a minor in English Literature. While at the University of Toronto, she was a recipient of the Student Leadership Award and took part in the Creative Destruction Lab startup accelerator. In her free time, Leila enjoys hiking, running, playing Ultimate Frisbee, and maintaining her link to Canada by keeping up with the latest Canadian fiction releases.
Chief Administrative Officer
Patti is Chief Administrative Officer at Activate, where she coordinates logistics for the entire team as well as oversees human resources, onboarding and other personnel responsibilities.
Prior to joining Activate, Patti worked with several of Activate’s principals as Office Manager at Element Partners, a leading growth equity fund dedicated to sustainability technology investing. Prior to Element, she worked at Katalyst Securities, a boutique investment bank focused on global TMT opportunities, and TVSM, publisher of the Cable Guide and Total TV, as an Executive Assistant to the President and VP of Sales. Patti also worked at CertainTeed Corporation, a leading manufacturer of building materials, where she was an administrator in the purchasing, relocation/expatriation, transportation and HR functions.
In her free time, Patti enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time with her family.
Executive Advisory Board Members
EAB Chair, Former Chairman & CEO of EnerNOC
Tim co-founded EnerNOC in 2001 and served as its Chairman and CEO until its sale to Enel in 2017 for over $300 million. Prior to EnerNOC, he worked in the Energy Technology Laboratory for Northern Power Systems, and held positions with Merrill Lynch, International Fuel Cells (then a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation) and venture firm Commonwealth Capital Ventures. Early in his career, he co-founded affinity marketing company Student Advantage that went public (NASDAQ: STAD) and was later acquired by CBORD, an independent business unit of Roper Technologies, Inc. (ROP: NYSE).
Tim was a founding Board member of the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and the Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC), where he has served for the last 13 years, and was appointed to the Mayor of Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission (GRC) in 2015. He is currently in his tenth year serving on the Board of Trustees for the New England Aquarium, and volunteers extensively in his local community of Concord, MA. He served from 2018 until 2020 on the Board of Veregy, Inc., a private equity backed energy services company. He formerly served on TechNet’s Executive Committee for over six years, and on the Board of Directors of sustainability firms Genability, Inc. and WeSpire, Inc.
Since 2017, Tim has been helping PE firms to acquire companies at the intersection of energy services, clean energy, finance, and innovation, as well as developing energy projects at university, healthcare and other campuses. He served as CEO for the Blackstone entity, P3 Energy, and as an executive advisor to Blackstone’s energy team from 2018 until January 2021.
Tim holds a degree in Political Science and Government from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
VP & Chief Sustainability, External Relations Officer at Johnson Controls
Kathleen “Katie” McGinty serves on the Executive Committee of Johnson Controls and helps drive the company’s top tier sustainability performance including recognition as one of the World’s 100 Most Sustainable Corporations. With over 25 years of public and private sector experience, Katie is a recognized innovator in clean energy and environmental protection.
Katie’s public sector career includes being the first woman to serve as Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and as Deputy Assistant to President Clinton (1993-1998), as Pennsylvania Secretary of Environmental Protection (2003-2008), and as Chair of the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (2004-2008). Katie currently serves on boards including the International Steering Committee of the World Sustainable Development Summit, Alliance to Save Energy, the Keystone Policy Center, the Carnegie Mellon Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, the Energy Futures Initiative, and the Goldman Sachs Renewable Power LLC.
Katie is also recognized for her commitment to the environment, including being named “Woman of the Year” awardee from the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment, and one of the Top Women in HVAC list of ACHR News, one of the Top 100 Women in Sustainability List by Sustainability Magazine and one of 25 women honored for climate leadership by GreenBiz.
She holds a BS in Chemistry from St. Joseph’s University and a law degree from Columbia University. She served as a Senior Visiting Fellow at TERI in New Delhi, India. Katie has received awards and recognitions, including honorary doctorates from Muhlenberg University, Dickinson College and Clarion State University.
Former Administrator of the EPA
William (Bill) Reilly has served four US Presidents: Presidents Nixon, George HW Bush, Clinton and Obama. For more than 20 years he was a Senior Advisor to TPG Capital, an international investment partnership. During his tenure with TPG, he was the Founding Partner of Aqua International Partners, a private equity fund dedicated to investing in companies in the water sector. Before joining TPG, Bill was the first Payne Visiting Professor at Stanford University.
Bill was Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency from 1989 to 1993, during which he led efforts to pass a new Clean Air Act and headed the US delegation to the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio in 1992. He served as president of World Wildlife Fund and later chairman of the board; president of The Conservation Foundation; and director of the Rockefeller Task Force on Land Use and Urban Growth. Bill has chaired the Board of the Global Water Challenge and Climate Works Foundation. He serves on the Executive Committee of the US Water Partnership and the board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He has also served on several corporate boards, including DuPont, ConocoPhillips and Royal Caribbean.
In addition to his service as EPA Administrator under President George HW Bush, from 1970-1972 he was a senior staff member at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, under President Nixon. President Clinton appointed Bill as a founding Trustee of the Presidio Trust of San Francisco. President Obama appointed him co-chair of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the Future of Offshore Drilling, and in late 2012 to the President’s Global Development Council for which he headed the working group on climate smart food security. He served in the US Army to the rank of Captain, 1966-1968.
CEO & Co-founder, Ambient Fuels
Jacob is a clean economy business builder, investor and thought leader who has been developing and originating renewable energy projects for over 20 years. He is a successful clean energy founder-CEO, having built and led OwnEnergy, a wind energy mid-market leader, from inception to exit. Jacob has also been instrumental in renewable energy investments and projects as an investor at Goldman Sachs and an executive at EDF Renewables.
With Jigar Shah, Jacob co-founded Cleantech Leaders Roundtable (CTLR), a private community of business leaders working to combat climate change and build a thriving clean economy. He currently serves as CTLR’s Board President. He is also a board member of REpowering Schools and previously served on the boards of American Clean Power’s predecessor, AWEA, as well as the American Council on Renewable Energy. Jacob was a founding board member of Clean Energy Buyers’ Alliance’s predecessor, REBA.
In 2010, Jacob was named to Crain’s New York “40 Under 40,” and in 2012, he was an E&Y Entrepreneur of The Year Finalist. In 2013, Greentech Media named Jacob one of New York’s Top 10 Cleantech Leaders.
CEO, Meridian Clean Energy
John has 30+ years of experience as an executive in the energy technology sector, including developing, acquiring and financing multiple clean power and decarbonization projects. He previously served as the VP of Energy at Google, President and CEO of BrightSource Energy, and CEO of Silicon Energy Corp. John has led the completion of world-class clean energy projects, managing complex state and federal policies to achieve climate goals while modernizing the electric grid.
In addition to his role at Meridian, John served on the Board of PG&E Corporation, Operating Partner at Activate Capital Partners, and a Senior Fellow at the World Resources Institute. John is a Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and holds a BA in Economics from the University of Virginia, an MA in Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia, and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.