I had the pleasure of speaking as part of a panel this morning at the Mid-Atlantic Capital Alliance's conference in Philadelphia. Here's a taste of what I told them:
1. Cleantech only happens in Silicon Valley and MIT. If you look at the dollars flowing into cleantech from venture capitalists, and read the sunday NYT, that's the natural conclusion you would draw. So my apologies to everyone in Philly (or the rest of the country outside of northern California and Boston), there's clearly very little good entrepreneurial activity in cleantech in your region.
2. Cleantech is really only solar, "smart grid", biofuels and electric vehicles.
3. Cleantech is really only about capital intensive business models.
4. Cleantech startups are only for whiz-bang PhD researchers who have earth-shattering innovations. Business models like energy efficiency services, and other implementation efforts, need not apply.
5. The only good cleantech startups are those backed by VCs. The fact that only 1% of startups get their initial capital from VCs simply means that 99% of new businesses are bad ideas.
I was supposed to describe what I like about being an investor in this market right now. And I told them that what I like about this market is that many people actually do believe the above points.