In the context of a general survey on the thermoelectric potential of cationic clathrates, formation, crystal chemistry and physical properties were investigated for novel inverse clathrates deriving from Sn19.3Cu4.7P22I8. Substitution of Cu by Zn and Sn by Ni was attempted to bring down electrical resistivity and lower thermal conductivity. Materials were synthesized by mechanical alloying using a ball mill and hot pressing. Structural investigations for all specimens confirm isotypism with the cubic primitive clathrate type I structure (lattice parameters a = ˜1.1 nm and space group type Pm-3n). Studies of transport properties evidence holes as the majority charge carriers. Thermal expansion data, measured in a capacitance dilatometer from 4 to 300 K on Sn19.3Cu1.7Zn3P19.92.1I8, compare well with literature data available for Sn24P19.62.4Br8 and for an anionic type I clathrate Ba8Zn8Ge38. From the rather complex crystal structure including split atom sites and lattice defects thermal conductivity in inverse clathrates is generally low. Following Zintl rules rather closely inverse clathrates tend to be semiconductors with attractive Seebeck coefficients. Thus for thermoelectric applications the main activity will have to focus on achieving low electrical resistivity in a compromise with still sufficiently high Seebeck coefficients.