Recent Posts:

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...

Why Massachusetts is leading

Rob Day: December 29, 2010, 10:31 AM

I often get the feeling talking with cleantech investor colleagues in California and contacts in D.C. that they don't think about Massachusetts very much.  Perhaps they think of the innovation center in the universities based in the state, but they don't think very often about the state as being a leading market for such innovations.

But it is.

Over the past few years, thanks to the efforts of the Patrick Administration and earlier efforts, Massachusetts has been a quiet trend-setter in terms of how to support implementation of clean technologies, and how to restructure the electricity regulatory scheme so that utilities have an incentive to tackle real efficiency savings, not...

11 predictions for 2011

Rob Day: December 27, 2010, 9:21 PM

'Tis the season for nor'easters, new year's resolutions, and venture capital prognostications.  All three, basically snow jobs.

2010 wasn't a good year for many cleantech venture capitalists.  I think 2011 will be better... for some.  Here's what I wrote about my 2010 predictions in retrospect.  And here are some of my predictions for 2011:

1. The cleantech venture capital shakeout will become more obvious

I haven't seen too much written about this by those outside the industry, mostly because it's been pretty quietly done.  But as we've talked about here before, there's been an exodus of investors out of the sector lately.  To date, it's been mostly individuals -- either...

“Throwing money”, and a few random notes

Rob Day: December 20, 2010, 4:52 PM

Just a few random notes on a snowy Monday afternoon:

1. As it's getting to the end of the year, I'm pulling together some predictions for 2011.  But it's always fun to look back at how I did last year.  The "year of energy efficiency"?  Check.  "Something in carbon legislation will be passed, but it will be more symbolic than meaningful"?  Not quite right, but directionally correct in assuming a more pessimistic stance than many had at that time.  "A pickup in investment activity, including the return of the megadeal"?  Yeah, probably technically correct, although Q3 of this year wasn't encouraging.  "New hybrid investment models will evolve"?  Never wrong, but often early, I like...

It’s “put up or shut up” time

Rob Day: December 17, 2010, 9:57 AM

Yesterday I drank ocean water and ate 31 day old fish.

And it was tasty.

I don't get the opportunity as a cleantech investor to do many taste-tests, yet funnily enough yesterday I got to do two of them.  First I attended a ribbon-cutting for Oasys Water's new facility in Boston's Innovation District, where Mayor Menino and a host of other folks including yours truly were invited to sample some ocean water that had been desalinated using the company's technology.  Tasted like Dasani.

Later that day I was kindly invited to a dinner hosted by Global Fresh Foods where they celebrated their first commercial shipments of sustainably-farmed salmon from Norway to the U.S., by doing a...

Coal and gas, revisited

Rob Day: December 13, 2010, 5:03 PM

I had the pleasure of taking part in a roundtable discussion at MIT a few days back, with researchers, investors, entrepreneurs and others there to talk about what cheap natural gas might mean for U.S. efforts to combat climate change.  The assumption being that unconventional gas development efforts (shale gas, etc.) and the resultant massive expansion of reserves here in the U.S. points to a prolonged period of relatively cheap natural gas.

Somewhat to my surprise, the group mostly thought this was a bad thing.  Because, many felt, cheap natgas would mean building out more of a power infrastructure based upon gas instead of solar/wind/etc. power.  "We cannot achieve our 2050...