The Converts The Converts

The Converts

November 24, 2008

What happens when oil-rich tycoons, real-estate magnates, and tech guys decide they care about the environment? Big money, new markets, and accusations of hypocrisy, of course.

Matthew Simmons

Was  Got into the oil game by accident, when an acquaintance asked him to invest in a budding business drilling offshore for black gold-billions of investment dollars followed.Is  Simmons says the future isn't solar power, or even wind. Instead, Simmons is investing in the harnessing of ocean energy.

Vincent Tchenguiz

Was  The flashy Iranian made his billions buying and selling real estate with his brother throughout Great Britain before seeking out greener, um, pastures.Is  In June, he announced he was interested in launching a $4 billion fund to broker clean energy deals for the public sector in the U.K.

Andrew Beebe

Was  A hipster-glasses-wearing, silicon-valley maverick, Beebe made his first fortune in his early 20s at, a firm that laced small companies with e-commerce capabilities.Is  A hipster-glasses-wearing, solar-energy tycoon, he has spent his post-dotcom days working with Energy Innovations and as president of EI Solutions, its solar-power company.

T. Boone Pickens

Was  The controversial buyout king made a fortune in oil with Mesa, then took the merger-and-acquisition approach to off the competition.Is  The $3 billon man says oil's end is nigh, and the smart money is on his enormous Texas wind farm. Some call it a Ponzi scheme; others are buying it.

Vinod Khosla

Was  The Indian big-money venture capitalist made his first big splash co-founding Sun Microsystems in the early 1980s.Is  An emerging-market maverick, Khosla's money is on green-technology innovation. He founded Khosla Ventures in 2004, through which he's invested in bioplastics, bioenergies, and harnessing cow patties for energy.
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The Converts