In cleantech venture capital, there's a new cleantech IT or cleantech 2.0 theme, inspired by VCs that have watched their green investments crater and their LPs sour on the cleantech segment. Generalist VCs are running from cleantech, and cleantech-dedicated firms are re-branding themselves as cleantech IT.
Today at the Going Green event put on by AlwaysOn in San Francisco, Ca., a number of VCs weighed in with their greentech VC worldview.
Nat Goldhaber of Claremont Creek Ventures
- "It's fantasy to believe in a free market when it comes to energy."
- "Everybody, other than us, is manipulating the price of energy."
- "Energy efficiency is a pure IT play."
Anup Jacob of Virgin Green Fund
- "What we look for...is a business model that can handle the macro headwinds."
- Capital-heavy businesses are hard to fund, according to Jacob. You heard it here first.
- "Show a profitable business plan within the capital constraint of your investor."
Stephan Dolezalek of VantagePoint Capital Partners
- "We need to play to win. The government in China clearly intends to pick winners and make losers."
- "We need to set a direction -- look at Germany." Dolezalek cited Germany achieving 50 percent renewable generation on one particular day earlier this year.
- "The only way to address resource shortages is with technology."
- "We've been through the first part of the curve. Now we're in the steep part of the valley. How do you survive and stay in a position to win when things get better?"
- When confronted with the sentiment that greentech was no place for venture capital, Dolezalek noted that the same sentiment had come up in "previous battles" in 3G networks, biomedicine, and the internet. He said that in every wave, there has to be an infrastructure buildout. "We have to build the hard stuff first."
- "We may be in a valley now, but the inevitability [of cleantech] has not gone away."
Tucker Twitmyer of EnerTech Capital
- "If you get a term sheet, take it."