Recent Posts:

Reinvent the Utility

Rob Day: November 18, 2011, 9:12 PM

In the last decade, cleantech venture capital was about reinventing the electric generator.

It's time to reinvent the utility.

Utilities, as currently structured, exist for one reason: wires.  Wires connecting consumers to generators are a natural monopoly, so rather than expecting a competitive market, the market is heavily regulated and overseen by PUCs representing the public's interest. It's true in electricity, just as it's true in wireline communications. Yes, that skews the market, but there's no good alternative in the face of a natural monopoly.

But wires are less important, as distributed generation (so far primarily in the form of rooftop solar, but in the future...

What Is “Cleantech 2.0”?

Rob Day: November 14, 2011, 1:27 PM

Here's a not-atypical venture capital story:

An early-revenue (or sometimes even pre-revenue) stage venture-backed startup with promising early results wants to make a big splash and run really quickly, so they look to raise a large-ish "growth round".  

To identify a significant new lead investor for the round, they turn to investment bankers with their deeper rolodexes.  The i-bankers only take the assignment because the round will be big enough to provide large enough placement fees to justify their doing the work, versus some other larger transactions they could be working on instead.  For this reason, very few sub-$10 million venture capital rounds get big-named investment...

Get Involved

Rob Day: November 7, 2011, 11:10 AM

Today, the Clean Economy Network announced a merger into the Advanced Energy Economy, a network of cleantech business leaders and regional organizations. It's been a fun ride to get to this important transition point.

Four years ago, Andrew Friendly and I launched a "Renewable Energy Business Network" chapter in Boston, borrowing from a successful model we'd both seen work on the West Coast, for informal and event-based networking-with-a-purpose among cleantech entrepreneurs and innovators. It caught on very quickly, and we found strong demand for similar efforts across the U.S., so we officially co-founded REBN as a nonprofit, and built up an eventual network of 15 regional...