Bobby Kennedy Jr.: Silicon Valley VC

A conversation with Bobby Kennedy Jr. can be an illuminating, if a bit of a strenuous, experience.

Kennedy, who was added as a partner specializing in cleantech at San Bruno’s VantagePoint Venture Partners, this week, is one of those big-idea guys.

I talked to him recently for a profile I was doing of Shai Agassi, the tech exec turned electric-car guru. VantagePoint invested in Agassi’s firm, Better Place of Palo Alto, and Kennedy introduced him at a press event when Better Place said it was going to work with the Bay Area big-city mayors to bring EV chargers here.

Anyhow, Kennedy was on his car phone and what I thought would be a 5-10 minute interview stretched into a 30-minute conversation. And it only ended when his cell phone cut out.

Kennedy, the 54-year-old son of Bobby Kennedy and nephew of JFK and Teddy, is an environmental lawyer and activist. He also hosts a radio show, and our conversation that started with electric cars expanded to include the melting Arctic ice cap, China, energy storage and more.

The last thing he told me before his phone clicked out: “This is about transforming our whole country into a self-sufficient nation. What happens then is a whole series of miracles that helps restore our national prestige.”

Like I said, a big idea guy.

VPVP says he’ll focus on water issues, and join the board of 2 of its portfolio companies —  Premium Power, a leading manufacturer of energy storage solutions, and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc., a wastewater remediation company producing environmentally safe commercial fertilizer.


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