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Venture Capital Investment Strategy Changing
CNBC.com | March 01, 2012 | 12:44 PM EST

Standard cement manufacturing technology , using super-heated kilns, hasn’t changed much since the Romans mixed cement to pave roads 2,000 years ago.

Srinivas Kilambi, a self-described clean energy serial inventor, aims to change that. He says his new process, a potential “paradigm shift,” would need far less energy, a much smaller plant, and a shorter production time.

Kilambi's startup, Sriya Green Materials of Marietta, Ga., backed by a global cement company and a major chemical concern, is trying to raise $10 million to build a pilot plant this year. Confident in his prospects given past fundraising successes, Kilambi needs the cash infusion at a time of notable change in the so-called clean tech arena.

For many investors, that change means shifting funds from capital-intensive alternative-energy technologies, such as solar panels, to lower-cost ventures focused on energy efficiency and “smart grid” technologies that automate electric utility operations.

“We continue to be very optimistic about things like the smart grid and the infusion of information technologies and software services” into old lines like electricity, agriculture and the built environment," says Steve Vassallo, general partner in Foundation Capital. “We’re very bullish on what I would consider the nexus of information technology and clean tech.”

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