Christina Lampe–Onnerud founds Cadenza Innovation and joins Bridgewater Associates

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One of Boston’s highest–profile energy entrepreneurs, Christina Lampe–Onnerud, is moving to Connecticut to join one of the world’s biggest hedge fund managers, Bridgewater Associates. Lampe–Onnerud is a former Arthur D. Little scientist who in 2004 founded Boston–Power, a maker of lithium ion batteries for laptops and electric vehicles.  The company attracted customers like HP and Saab.  But Lampe–Onnerud dialed down her involvement with the company in 2012, after it raised a big new funding round and shifted much of its operations to China.

“The thing I love [about Bridgewater] is it’s a really high caliber team,” she says.  “I have every intention of giving everything I can and learning everything I can.”

But Lampe–Onnerud says that she and her husband, Per, have also formed a new energy startup called Cadenza Innovation [formerly CLOTEAM, LLC].  The company won a $40,000 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center in February. In the press release, Cadenza Innovation was said to be working on “a lower cost and higher safety energy storage systems using battery technology….With improved performance, in combination with greater safety and cost reductions in battery storage, Cadenza’s innovations will enable electric drive and energy storage globally.” Per Onnerud had previously been the Chief Technology Officer at Boston–Power.

Christina tells me that the job with Bridgewater is very much full–time, and that the family is in the midst of closing on a house in Westport, Connecticut, where the firm is headquartered.  As for Cadenza Innovation, “Per is running it.  Some of the people working with him are new people, and some were at Boston–Power.  It’s really a technical team right now.  It will take a couple years to demonstrate if this idea is a good one.”  She says the company has team members spread across Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.  “We can angel finance it ourselves,” she says, but adds that “we are in discussions with other sources of funding.”

Lampe–Onnerud has one of the more optimistic personalities you’ll ever encounter, and so it isn’t a surprise when she says, “I am very sure that the energy space will come back.”

By Scott Kirsner, Boston Globe columnist

May 23, 2013