If you attend enough events covering venture capital investment in greentech, the same, sometimes obvious, themes start to repeat themselves.
- VCs need to invest in billion-dollar markets.
- Teams are important.
- The company has to be capital-efficient, but paradoxically, must scale big, quickly.
- Scale is important.
- We need consistency in government policy.
This week's Groundhog Day-like VC event was a "Quarterly Venture Breakfast with Pillsbury Winthrop and PricewaterhouseCoopers" in Palo Alto, California. There were no highlights.
- Steve Bengston, PricewaterhouseCoopers
- Sven Strohband, Mohr Davidow Ventures
- Don Wood, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
- Rick Yang, NEA
- Moderator: Allison Leopold-Tilley, Pillsbury Winthrop
If the first question that the moderator asks is from 2004 ("What is cleantech?"), then you know you're in for a low-information event. Don Wood of DFJ brought some sense to the question by saying, "We haven't spent a lot of time trying to define it."
Bulletin: We're long past the point of asking what cleantech is.
Steve Bengston of PricewaterhouseCoopers gave a third-quarter cleantech venture capital update:
- There will be about $20 billion in venture capital invested in the United States this year.
- About 15 to 20 percent of VC dollars have gone into greentech.
- Q3 2010 VC investment in greentech was $625 million in 58 deals, $333 million in Silicon Valley, $110.8 million in Texas, $57.5 million in the Midwest. Sorry, New England.
- Trilliant was the largest Q3 deal.
- The average cleantech deal size was $10.8 million.
- Expect more interest from strategics like Applied, Bechtel, Intel, Google, Cisco and Chevron.
As a grizzled veteran of tracking VC data -- I am confident in saying that looking at VC data from quarter to quarter is a fool's game despite the moderator's inquiry on quarterly trends. It's a lumpy and noisy set of data that yields no meaningful information when parsed at that resolution.
Trends to look out for in 2011:
- More efficiency investments
- More lighting investments
- Greentech venture capital is going to start to look a lot more like regular venture capital