Racing green: Venture capitalists back new league for really fast EVs

I’ve been known to follow the Boston Celtics now and again (by which I mean, nearly every waking hour). So I perked up when I saw this ESPN report about a new racing league for super-fast electric vehicles, which is being backed by a number of Celtics co-owners who also happen to be venture capitalists.

Formula E, an all-electric circuit whose name is an obvious nod to Formula One, has also drawn celebrity owners like Leo DiCaprio and Richard Branson. The league is slated to kick off a 10-race, four-continent series next fall in Beijing (which, based on my last visit there in August, could really use more electric cars on its streets).

The e-dragsters reportedly can hit speeds between 140 and 160 mph — almost as fast as Al Gore’s son in a Prius! But seriously, Silicon Valley types eager to see these gizmos in action will have to head to Los Angeles; after all, San Jose seems unlikely to welcome another downtown Grand Prix, while San Francisco’s still smarting over its recent billionaire boys’ race.

Wyc Grousbeck, the Celtics CEO and face of the Causeway Partners Formula E ownership group, is unfazed by any skeptics. “We aim to help make Formula E a worldwide sensation,” he told the Associated Press this week.

Among the other VCs mentioned in the ESPN piece are Highland Capital founder Bob Higgins and Mark Wan of Three Arch Partners in Portola Valley, who also co-owns the San Francisco 49ers. But the C’s ownership team is positively lousy with tech investors, including SilverLake co-founder Dave Roux and Grousbeck’s dad Irv, who co-founded Stanford’s Center for Entrepreneural Studies. 


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