Recent Posts:

Lessons From the Past Ten Years: Overreaction

Rob Day: July 25, 2012, 8:41 PM

It would be easy to be pessimistic about the current state of the cleantech innovation sector. We’re under attack by politically motivated facts-and-patriotism-be-damned foes; there’s clearly a shakeout happening in several sectors such as upstream solar; and more and more VCs are abandoning the sector (just over the past week, I heard of two more cleantech-specific VC firms that are shelving plans to raise new funds). These are not fun times, to be sure, and these are very hard times for early-stage entrepreneurs in particular.

But it’s important to recognize what this period really represents: the inevitable period of investor 'over-pessimism' following an innovation-driven...

Lessons From the Past Ten Years: Youth

Rob Day: July 24, 2012, 10:50 AM

Had a lot of good feedback from my earlier post about teams and evaluating skills gaps; we even used a version of this as a self-assessment tool for the Cleantech Open Northeast semifinalist teams, which seemed to be helpful.

Since then, however, I've gotten approached by a number of younger entrepreneurs who are worried that, as they look at their relative inexperience, this skills-gap analysis means generally pessimistic things for them.

To be fair: Yes it does.

But not prohibitive things. In fact, a good skills-gap analysis is probably even more important for first-time entrepreneurs than more experienced entrepreneurs, even if it shows a lot of gaps. Every entrepreneur has...

This Quarter in Cleantech Venture Capital investing

Rob Day: July 13, 2012, 12:00 PM

The various deal-tracking groups continue to step up their game, doing a better and better job each year. Looking forward to seeing additional takes from CB Insights, Ernst & Young and others, but just reviewed the Cleantech Group's Q2 media presentation (as reported on by GTM here) and had a few additional thoughts and reactions to lob in:

1. It really feels like 2012 is a shakeout year.

Remember that the way these numbers get reported, and given the paucity of exits in the sector, there's a fundamental momentum to see deal counts always go up over time. Every quarter's new deals will require multiple follow-on rounds, so as new companies are added to VC firms' portfolios (and...

Lessons From the Past Ten Years, Part Four: Gaps

Rob Day: July 3, 2012, 10:28 AM

I had the opportunity to address a group of foundation managers, investors, entrepreneurs, and DOE staff at a roundtable at MIT last week, discussing the subject of capital gaps in cleantech.

That there are capital gaps -- parts of the cleantech innovation, commercialization and adoption cycle where more capital is needed than is available -- isn't a surprise to any readers of this column. But I continue to see lots of conflicting takes on where exactly the gaps are and what causes them.

As I described to the group, we've spotted not just one or two, but five different capital gaps affecting the cleantech market. Some are more obvious than others. For a couple of these gaps,...