HOLLAND—Dick and Betsy DeVos' private investment group Windquest Group is providing a financial lift to Holland start-up Energetx Composites.
The DeVoses were drawn to the new wind energy company because its fits in with Windquest Group's clean energy focus, and their longtime business ties with the Slikkers, the family behind S2 and Tiara Yachts—and more recently Energetx.
“(The DeVoses) have purchased boats from them in the past and the (Betsy's) Prince family has known the Slikkers as well so the relationship goes way back,” said Allan Hoekstra, chief financial officer for the Windquest Group.
“They have been doing business in West Michigan making great quality projects and being a world class company with great employees and a longterm commitment to the community. Those are the business partners we like to have.”
Details of the transaction were not disclosed but the investment will be used to continue the scale-up of the company's manufacturing equipment for the production of utility scale wind turbine blades.
The struggling economy has hampered the company's anticipated growth.
“Before supply was much less than demand,” said Kelly Slikkers, vice president of new business development. “The slow down in the economy has turned that upside down.”
Neither are saying how much capital Windquest is pumping into Energetx, but the investment group will have the only non-family seat on the company's board of directors.
In addition to serving as a financial partner, Windquest will bring strategic direction and contacts to the table, Hoekstra said.
“We are eagerly looking forward to helping them continue to grow this business and meet the increasing demands for advanced composite products across a variety of industries; including wind energy, transportation, aerospace as well as others,” said Dick DeVos, president of Windquest, in a statement.
The goal is to have Energetx be a very significant supplier of advance composites as well as a significant employer in West Michigan, added Hoekstra.
Energetx recently announced a deal with Aeroblade of Victoria, Spain to become the company's North American manufacturing partner, supplying utility scale wind turbine blades to Aeroblade’s customers throughout the United States and
Another of Winquest's West Michigan investment includes a partnership with Cascade Engineering to create Triple Quest, a water filter used to help clean-water efforts around the world.
“We're open to investment really on a national level,” said Hoekstra. “However, we do have a fondness for Michigan because of the principals of company, Dick and Betsy...both have families with strong business roots in Michigan.