SP’s accomplished management and advisory teams offer longstanding experience in capital appreciation and sustainability

so you can maximize savings, product reliability, and overall satisfaction.

Thomas Cain
Thomas CainFounder and CEO

Tom is CEO of Sustainability Partners LLC, a sustainable products finance company and Managing Partner of EFW Partners, a multi-strategy investment firm focused on energy, food and water.

Tom Cain is the founder of Sustainability Partners LLC (SP), formed in April 2017. Recognizing the national need for large-scale infrastructure solutions, Cain pioneered a new model for upgrading energy, water and fuel-efficient systems for large, quasi-permanent, customers. SP’s model displaces the current slow, costly and resource constrained solution with a fast, extremely efficient and disruptive model requiring no customer capital expense. SP targets customers in the MUSH market – Municipalities, Universities, Schools and Hospitals – along with HOAs and low risk private and public companies. SP believes that our low cost, low risk solution appeals to a customer base who is eager to adapt and champion best practices with respect to sustainability, but lack the resources to effect change.


SP’s precursor firm, GSV SP LLC, was founded by Cain, John Denniston (previously co-portfolio manager for Kleiner Perkins  Green Technology Fund) and GSV Capital in April 2014. Their mission was to find, implement and develop a platform to accelerate adoption of advanced clean tech innovation into the economy so that adequate venture returns could be derived from entrepreneurial activity by which billions have been invested.


In 2014, GSV capital, Denniston and Cain invested $10M to capitalize GSV SP. After two years, the firm had successfully placed $7M in products with customers using innovations generating 20%+ IRRs.  Amongst other developing insights, the need to separate device ownership from device usage became a primary focus. Cain realized that he needed to combine East Coast financial markets and their structured finance expertise with SP in order to achieve this goal.


In the summer of 2016, BlackRock purchased GSV Capital and John Denniston’s interests in GSV SP and formed Sustainability Partners LLC with a $15M commitment for a 60% ownership; and SP HoldCo LLC with a $200M commitment to fund customers targeting an average 10% yield in exchange for 60% ownership.


SP delivered its first major contract for the State of Arizona in January 2017.  Predicted yield was over 15%, however, under new leadership BlackRock transaction committee placed a 20% IRR floor on SP.  As a result, Cain decided to repurchase BlackRock’s entire interest in April 2017 in order to stay on mission.


Prior to forming Sustainability Partners LLC, Cain founded his 2nd venture capital firm, Greener Capital in 2011, later known as EFW Partners. As a pure CleanTech venture capital firm, it focused on energy and water investing, anchored by personal investments from the Steyers and the Waltons, with aggregate funds of $60M. By 2013, positive returns for EFW and the entire sector were deemed unlikely. Cain determined that the problem was structural and as a result, founded Sustainability Partners to pursue a solution.


Tom Cain, Managing Partner of GC, is widely regarded as one of the earliest and most successful CleanTech venture capitalists. He co-founded the CleanTech firm SAIL Venture Partners in 2002, raising $135 million in two funds. In a firm with five partners, he personally sourced and led more than half of the firm’s CleanTech investments. The two funds had generated E & Y audited gains of 29% and 42% in 2009 with 10% and 47% in 2010 respectively, when Tom left to form Greener Capital.


During Tom’s tenure with SAIL, JP Morgan, an anchor investor in SAIL, recognized SAIL Fund I and II portfolios among its top-performing CleanTech funds. Cain played a primary role in these portfolios by sourcing all of SAIL’s energy storage, renewable energy, motor, media and energy efficiency investments.


Prior to joining SAIL, Cain launched a successful turnaround of Evans Systems ($60M Rev., NASDAQ: EVSI), a Texas based distressed oil and gas business. He restructured its financials, replaced the board and successfully merged the company with Evans historic competitor, Maritz & Couey, which took over direct management.  From this he founded, Starco Energy, and acquired a moth-balled petrochemical terminal on the Texas intracoastal.  He restored the facility and upon start-up, sold it to Quintana Corp in 2006.


Previous to entering the energy industry, Cain had a long and successful career as a computer programmer, entrepreneur, and CEO.  In 1977, at the age of 22, he founded Distribution Architects Int’l, a supply chain and enterprise resources planning (ERP) software firm.  The firm was acquired by Frontstep Corp. (1999, $92M Rev., NASDAQ:FSTP) with Mr. Cain becoming chairman of the acquisition corp.   Frontstep was later merged with Mapics (2003, $100M Rev., NASDAQ: MAPX). In 2005, Mapics was sold to Infor for $375M and Cain then retired from his chairman position. During that time, the firm had grown to 4,500 customers in 70 countries with $172M Rev. Cain received many awards for innovative breakthroughs in computing and is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer during his 28-year leadership tenure.


As a young mathematician, Cain worked on the theta-pinch toroidal plasma stabilization attempt to control thermonuclear fusion for direct generation of electricity under the polymath, James Tuck, at Los Alamos Labs.   While no solution was found, nor has been, the experience did seed Cain’s lifetime passion for energy, water and the global ecosystem.


Cain, a member of WPO/YPO, founded the YPO Global Supply Chain Conference, was chairman of the MIT Presidents Education, and group led the HBS Presidents Education.   He has served as a board of director on over 30 public and private businesses.  In 2008, Cain authored Best Practices for Energy Venture Capital with Innovation: Finding New Frontiers in Energy Investing. Cain is an alumnus of ASU with undergraduate and graduate studies in mathematics.

Jay Jacobs
Jay JacobsManaging Director

Jay joined SP to attract and serve MUSH clients focused on meeting sustainability goals while also reducing operating costs, capital investment, deferred maintenance and risk.

This unique win/win objective is the foundation of every SP/customer agreement. Jay’s responsibility is to leverage his sales, relationship management and team skills to build durable and perpetual customer relationships.

Prior to joining SP Jay spent 17 years on Wall Street launching and growing three premier boutique investment banks as a Founding Partner, Head of Sales and Capital Markets for Wessels, Arnold and Henderson, DRW (now Royal Bank of Canada) and Thomas Weisel Partners (now Stifel Financial). He then spent the next 15 years launching and building alternative investment platforms such as Thomas Weisel Partners Asset Management and Crossover Venture Partners in various leadership positions including CEO and Senior Portfolio Manager. Throughout his Wall Street career Jay worked with many of the world’s most important investment managers, investors and growth companies.

Jay attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Business. He also served as a Board Member for UW’s Graduate School of Business and is a member of UW’s Beacon Hill Society. Jay is also an alumnus of the Applied Security Analysis Program.

Jay spent much of his childhood fishing, sport diving and surfing. Today, his passion for sustainability and conservation is driven by his love of the ocean and nature. Jay is also drawn to SP’s business model which helps employers, employees and communities succeed. This convergence of sustainability, plus a uniquely inclusive business model, drives Jay to build important long-term customer relationships.[/expand]

Robin Shaffer
Robin ShafferDirector

Translating SP’s vision into practice, Robin supports prospects, customers, and business partners with sales and marketing assistance from opportunity origination through customer acquisition and ongoing support.

His deep background in the energy space and familiarity with championing new technologies and business models into new markets lends valuable perspective to SP’s efforts.

Robin has held executive-level sales and marketing management positions over a 25+ year career spanning the HVAC, building automation, wireless, power monitoring, distributed generation, energy storage and renewables industries with notable companies such as Trane, Johnson Controls, NK Technologies, SunLink and Clearedge Power.

Robin holds a degree in Environmental Engineering with concentration in Solar/HVAC system design from California Polytechnic State University and has an MBA from Marquette University.

Daniel Bolden
Daniel BoldenDirector

Daniel leads SP’s global installation operations. His current focus is on the development of installation partnerships and delivering on the SP’s strategy to revolutionize sustainable infrastructure.

Daniel’s experience with installations in the energy industry is a key component in the success of SP’s mission.

After serving in the United States Marine Corps infantry, Daniel worked in the construction industry as a journeyman electrician. His career in sustainability began with PowerLight Corporation, where he led solar installations throughout California. After SunPower’s acquisition of Powerlight, Daniel became a Project Manager, where he managed projects throughout the U.S.

Daniel holds a B.S. in Management from Arizona State University and is credentialed as a Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute.

Rick Gibson
Rick GibsonDirector

Rick joined SP as a Venture Partner and one of its original Business Partners. His focus is to find, qualify and close new business. Currently Rick manages the sales team, nurtures key customers and creates marketing multipliers to grow the business.

Rick Gibson’s had 40-year career building businesses, founded and co-founded several successful technology companies and advised over (75) others. Since 1999, as Managing Director of HOTventures, a “mentor capital fund” investing and advising in fast-growth companies and involved with several companies that’ve had liquidity events.

Rick’s been a key player in several “mentor-driven accelerators” including Idealab, world’s leading tech incubator in the 1990’s. Rick was an early shareholder in Bill Gross’ Idealab, founded one of its first companies and participated in strategic planning with its ten original CEOs. For UA, Rick was Mentor-Emeritus for UA’s AZCI incubator, Adjunct Instructor for Eller School Entrepreneurship Program, on MBA Advisory Council, Director Emeritus for NACET incubator since 2008. For ASU, was Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Instructor for LaunchPad/LaunchPrep entrepreneurship programs.

Since 2000, he’s been on Selection Panel for Invest Southwest Capital Conference’s Venture Madness. Rick is a judge for AZ Commerce Authority’s ‘Innovation Challenge’. Rick is a judge for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and is often a Mentor and Panelist for FundingPost.

Rick started GNP Development Corp with Bill Gross which they sold to Lotus Development Corp. They co-founded Knowledge Adventure Inc which became the world’s largest children’s CD-ROM edutainment software company as part of Universal Studios.

Robert Nemeth
Robert NemethDirector

Bob has recently joined SP as Director of Investments.  He is in charge of leading the expansion into the Northeast. His focus is to find, qualify and close new business primarily focused on the municipal, utility, school and hospital markets.

Robert Nemeth served as the Managing Director/Director of Research at the Perkins Fund Marketing from 2013-2017. He was responsible for marketing and sales of alternative investments in the New England, the Mid-West and for specific New York, Florida and California clients . From 2005-2012, he was Partner and Head Trader at Elm Ridge Capital Management.  Prior to Elm Ridge, he was Head Trader at John A. Levin & Co., a 14B multi-strategy firm. Bob started his career at J.P. Morgan Investment Management where he remained for 11 years and was Vice President, Senior Equity and Convertible Trader.