Long before voters elected Barack Obama president, greentech companies and investors had tried to predict what an Obama administration would do to promote their business agendas. While the economy continues its free fall, however, they might have to wait much longer to see what the new president can do for them. 

"Markets are going to remain volatile through the inauguration," said Jeff Hagan, managing director of investment banking at Canaccord Adams, during a keynote at an energy efficient conference south of San Francisco Tuesday. "There is tension between fear and greed, and in the next six months, it will be all about fear." 

Six months might not even be enough for the next president to start working on the greentech policies he championed so strongly during the campaign. In an interview with National Public Radio aired Tuesday, Paul Light of New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service said Obama would be lucky to get his full cabinet in place by his first anniversary. 

Even though the Democrats outnumber the Republicans in the U.S. Senate, there are enough Republicans to hold up the nomination process while Obama tries to fill key government positions, Light said. 

While investors and entrepreneurs wait for Obama to fulfill his pledge to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency technologies and electric cars, they can learn a few lessons from investment trends in the last seven years. Hagan presented some data culled from various sources, including New Energy Finance and VentureWire, that show how cleantech startups have charted new directions than startups in other industries. Here are some interesting numbers to point out: 

  • Overall, venture capital/private equity firms have invested $13 billion in cleantech companies since 2001.
  • Only $1.7 billion worth of IPOs since 2001 have come from venture-backed companies.
  • Corporate investors have outspent VCs in putting money into cleantech startups. In fact, those corporate investors, such as GE, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell, have invested up to three times more than VCs.
  • The time it takes for a startup to go public or get bought has increased. In 2008 so far, startups that went public had spent an average of 8.3 years as private companies. In 2007, the average was 7.2 years.

Join industry leaders and influencers at Greentech Media's new conference series Greentech Innovations: End-to-End Electricity on November 17 and 18 in New York City.