Introducing the Rockstart Energy fund team: Max ter Horst and Michael Hartnack

Building winning teams is core to any company out there, no matter its stage. This is also valid  at Rockstart to the extent that we believe that people define performance. Rockstart is on a mission to empower purpose-driven founders to drive positive change at a global scale and, in order to do so, our team is the core value driver of our business.

Today we are excited to introduce to you the Rockstart Energy fund new leaders: Max ter Horst, our new Managing Partner of the Rockstart Energy fund, who together with longtime colleague, Michael Hartnack, now Partner, Rockstart Energy fund will make up the duo who will manage the fund in the years to come. Max and Michael are joined by an experienced team ready to move the needle, invest in and empower the new leaders of the energy transition in Europe and beyond.

Max comes from EWT, a leading Dutch wind turbine manufacturer where he worked on large financing rounds for wind projects, while shaping the strategy of the company in the wider renewable energy space. He spent his early career as a consultant at McKinsey and later started his own wind energy company, e-Kite. Max ran the company for seven years, raising close to € 2m in funding, conquering significant milestones, and winning several prestigious awards including European start-up of the year (as decided by a jury with Steve Wozniak and Richard Branson). 

Max will work closely with Michael Hartnack who has been part of Rockstart since 2018, managing Rockstart’s portfolio of 150+ companies we invested in from 2012 – 2019. Michael gained a deep understanding of Rockstart’s unique model, early-stage investments while possessing great coaching skills. Michael brings 20+ years’ of international experience as investment manager/director, transaction adviser, co-founder and CFO. His experience ranges from being an associate director at KPMG where he performed >100 strategic investment commercial due diligence on behalf of investors pre-, during or post-deal, to supporting the first phase of the scaling process of The Ocean Cleanup from 2->45 FTE.  

Max and Michael will work closely with Gem Kua, Investor Analyst Energy at Rockstart since 2020, Grace Paranjape as Program Lead Energy and Alexandra Ciuca-Verweij as Program Associate Energy  and the broader Rockstart team.

We’ve asked him to tell us more about his priorities in the months to come and here is what he had to say. 

What made you decide to join Rockstart? 

Max: It’s always an adventure to work with startup founders as I feel inspired by their new approaches and ambitions. I’ve joined Rockstart as I believe it’s the chance to work on something greater than myself. Together with the team, I will be supporting promising energy startups in scaling their businesses and their positive climate impact. Furthermore, I believe Rockstart plays a central role in the startup ecosystem and I am very excited to be part of  Rockstart’s fantastic team and to have access to its comprehensive regional and global network. 

What are you most excited about?

Max: I’m very excited to meet all the high quality startups we have in our portfolio. I am eager to hear their stories, learn about their businesses and personally connect with founders. I am also looking forward to meeting the wider Rockstart ecosystem of investors, mentors and corporate partners.

In mid February  the spring program starts at Rockstart and so I am eager to turn this edition into the most fantastic experience for founders and their teams as this is the beginning of our long term relationship. So it looks like I will have a busy agenda in the coming months! 🙂

What are your top priorities for 2022 here at Rockstart? 

Max: My first priority is to find and invest in the very best startups in the energy sector. Moreover, I will also focus on our existing portfolio companies making sure they continue to grow using our strong experience, investments  and network in the domain. This is consistent with Rockstart’s follow on strategy to invest in the star alumni ensuring scale for bigger impact.

We are excited to have Max and the team ready for the upcoming year as we aim to invest in and accelerate up to 20 energy startups. I am looking forward to sharing more on the team here at Rockstart, so keep an eye on this space.