Recent Posts:

The Next Wave of Cleantech VCs

Rob Day: January 30, 2011, 11:21 PM

A couple of years ago, before things went wrong with the economy, there were a fair number of first-time cleantech venture firms out fundraising. Some have persevered in their fundraising efforts. Most have had to stop trying.

It may be healthy overall for the sector over the long run to not have too many funds running around.  But what's a shame is that this weeding out came at a time when the sector was in need of some reinvention, different investment models and different perspectives.  While some of that reinvention will come from more established firms in the sector, some of those newer firms would ostensibly have had a better chance of coming up with that new thinking.

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A Litmus Test

Rob Day: January 25, 2011, 12:40 AM

Just finished a very long first day at the Clean Economy Summit in D.C.  Lots of cleantech business leaders in attendance, a great crowd.

I've ended up being in more conversations about the current and future role of natural gas than I expected.  It's clear that the expected continued low cost of natural gas in this country is going to have major impacts on cleantech markets and policies in the U.S. going forward.

Participants were allocated to roundtables on various topics of interest; my group was tasked with thinking about what an effective clean energy standard (the latest rebranding of a national renewable portfolio standard) might look like.  Managers from a wide range of...

Solve a Local Problem

Rob Day: January 22, 2011, 2:03 AM

My hometown was fortunate to be the recipient of a Massachusetts Green Communities award this year.  So I showed up at the town Renewable Energy Committee meeting to see if I could help.  Being the fourth person in the room, it turned out to be a bit more interactive than I'd expected.

On the table were proposals to do major energy retrofits of the town's schools; financing a solar system on one town building's roof; marketing campaigns to get residents to do energy retrofits for their homes; funding a geothermal heat pump for the library; putting up a wind turbine at the athletic fields; purchasing more efficient street lamps; etc.

In other words, a pretty wide range of choices...

Looking Forward to the Clean Economy Summit Next Week

Rob Day: January 18, 2011, 12:03 PM

Regular readers will recognize the Clean Economy Network from my past mentions of the organization, which has been establishing itself as a nonpartisan voice and community convener for the cleantech industry in Washington, D.C. and in regional chapters across North America.

They're going to be hosting their first annual Clean Economy Summit next week.  An invite-only event to bring together 150 cleantech CEOs, investors and top policymakers for two days of networking and market/policy planning.  I'm looking forward to the event, which promises to be a pretty interesting crowd.

As we look forward to the next wave of U.S. cleantech, what market and policy priorities do you think...

How to Raise Venture Capital for a Cleantech Startup in 2011

Rob Day: January 10, 2011, 10:21 PM

These are tough times for cleantech startups in need of capital.  In the 2010 cleantech venture tally recently put out by the Cleantech Group, despite their positive spin on it even they had to acknowledge that Q4 was a second straight down quarter -- only Q1 and Q2 made 2010 look good.  Heading into 2011, while I do think there will be a bit of an upward trend, there's little reason to think VCs are going to start pouring significantly more capital into the sector anytime soon.  

So what is a cleantech entrepreneur to do, just fold up shop?  Some will be forced to do so.  Others will turn to alternative sources of funding (grants, NRE from strategic partners, or non-VC funding...

The Good, the Bad, and the “Ugh”: Cleantech and the current web bubble

Rob Day: January 3, 2011, 4:47 PM

I've spoken with a few cleantech investors and startup CEOs lately, who naturally mention and opine about the recent high-valuation fundraisings in the web space, but for the most part without a sense that it really matters to anyone in the cleantech sector.

But far from it being inconsequential or just something to feel a twinge of jealousy about, instead I'm starting to see some real implications -- both good and bad -- for the sector as a result of what's increasingly looking like a new web bubble (or "wubble" as I've been calling it on twitter, because then at least it sounds small and cute and manageable).

 

The Good:

First and foremost, cleantech VCs are just glad to...