Recent Posts:

NextWave 2013: A Sign of a True Turning Point for Our Sector?

Rob Day: September 16, 2013, 8:09 PM

So last week's NextWave Greentech Investing conference ended up being pretty amazing. 

The conference was completely sold out, and there was a waiting list. The crowd was a great mix of investors and entrepreneurs of all stripes. And the feedback we got afterwards was just wonderfully positive, about both the networking and the content itself. If you're interested in checking out some of the presentations, you can find them here.

Many thanks to the Greentech Media team for organizing the event and for giving me a chance to get involved; it was a lot of fun.

Clearly the message of an emerging "next wave of greentech investing" resonated with a lot of people out there. And I...

A Hybrid Approach to Greentech Returns?

Rob Day: August 28, 2013, 8:05 AM

Ahead of the NextWave Greentech Investing conference (if you haven't signed up yet, you're missing out on what's turning into a great networking event!), we've been looking at some of the innovative strategies out there for generating strong financial returns from investments in the sector.

One approach that's not exactly new, but has certainly been underutilized to date in the sector, is to pair investments in public equities markets with private equity investments. Several groups including Generation Investment Management, Firelake, and a few others have tackled this strategy in a variety of formats, but while many venture firms will say they are open to doing PIPEs (private...

Can Philanthropists Fill the Gaps?

Rob Day: August 19, 2013, 1:21 PM

The NextWave Greentech Investing conference is coming up soon -- September 12th. And the crowd that's already registered is a nicely diverse mix of types of investors (LPs, VCs, corporates, family offices, etc.), in addition to entrepreneurs and others. One type of potential "investor" that doesn't get talked about as much, however, are the philanthropists who've traditionally played a small but important role in backing innovation, particularly in this sector.

Sarah Kearney (who'll be speaking at NextWave) thinks they can serve a much bigger role. She serves as the Executive Director of PRIME, a nonprofit that encourages philanthropic efforts in the energy sector. I asked Sarah...

Cleantech and Predictable Irrationality

Rob Day: August 13, 2013, 7:35 PM

Ahead of the NextWave Greentech Investing conference (early-bird registration rate ends Wednesday, btw), I'm taking a look at some of the shifts in thinking and strategy that are underlying this next wave of investors.

One of the more important shifts, I believe, is the abandonment of the quaint idea that buyers of clean technology are inherently rational decision-makers.

I mean "rational" in the economics sense, of course, I'm not intending to be disparaging of anyone. But during the past decade there was too often a sense that it all came down to unit economics for customers. That a compelling economic value proposition (a production cost for biofuels well below the market...

Lessons From the Past 10 Years: Focus

Rob Day: August 1, 2013, 11:11 AM

First off, if you haven't registered yet to attend NextWave Greentech Investing, go do so. The agenda's really coming together, for example Schneider's head of smart grid strategy will be there to tell everyone why they keep acquiring cleantech companies, and what that means for the next wave of exits. And the room's starting to fill up with investors and entrepreneurs, so I'm really looking forward to a good conversation. So go ahead and go register now, I'll wait.


OK, we're back. 

Speaking of B2B cleantech startups such as those Schneider and others increasingly want to acquire, I wanted to remind everyone of this crucial lesson from the classic book Crossing the Chasm...

What Is “NextWave Greentech”?

Rob Day: July 20, 2013, 6:11 PM

When the folks at Greentech Media asked me to chair their upcoming "NextWave Greentech Investing" conference, I immediately said yes. The chance to have many of the more active and innovative investors hang out together for a day, talking about how they're trying to reinvent the sector, is just simply going to be a lot of fun -- and hopefully pretty informative for entrepreneurs in the sector. Certainly it'll be a good place to look for funding!

But it still begs the question: What exactly is this next wave all about? How do you define it? We've touched upon this question a bit in past columns, but mostly by talking about what it's not. The concept is clearly about creating new...