by Stephen Lacey
August 01, 2016

We’re more than a decade on from the beginning of the cleantech gold rush -- and a lot of venture capital firms failed to strike it rich. 

In this week's show, we tally the boom and bust in cleantech VC, and look at how it compares with other sectors. We're joined by Varun Sivaram, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Ben Gaddy, the director of technology development at the Clean Energy Trust. 

The two recently teamed up with another colleague, Frank O’Sullivan from the MIT Sloan School of Management, to log the performance of venture investments in clean energy and materials from 2006 to 2011. They then compare it to the medical field and software.

They found that the failure rate in cleantech was much higher (and the returns were much lower) than these other fields. Their conclusion: venture capital is not the right model for revolutionizing the energy industry.

So if that’s true, what should take its place? We debate. 

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