A Few Conversations on the State of Cleantech

I’ve had a number of conversations in the past couple of weeks about the state of cleantech and the various sectors that make it up.

No real answers, just food for discussion.

The IPO market – a few threads that keep perking up.  A need for the IPO market in cleantech to get healthy.  A general sesne of relief that Solyndra did not get out.  Massive skepticism over Tesla’s prospects.  All hopes pinned to Silver Spring.

Carbon / Climate change – determination that the oil spill shall not go in vain, so to speak.  Jaded lack of awareness about cap and trade and carbon globally replacing the pre-Copenhagen hype, despite that the underlying policies are getting more an more rational, and more and more real work and debate is occuring.  Bifurcated Over $1 Billion in smart money acquisitions in carbon in the last 9 months (JP Morgan, Barclays, Reuters, ICE, Bloomberg), the summer solider and sunshine patriots have bailed for now.

Venture capital – growing unease that the 2 and 20 managed money model is broken, and especially broken in cleantech.  Growing disbelief at the “picking winners” strategy and the massive hundreds of millions per company from the DOE in its loan guarantee program – inflation comes to cleantech?

A strengthening sense that like CNG was crowded out of the transport discussion by PHEV and ethanol a few years ago, EV and PHEVs are crowding out a market very jaded with the always over the horizon promise of biofuels to replace corn and sugar cane ethanol.

More discussions on water use and technology than I have had in years.  But still no answers.

A sense from those who know, that the US shale gas and the BP Horizon spill have the potential to shift the whole debate.

Or maybe it’s just me projecting my feelings on everyone I talk to, or ignoring those saying stupid things!  Since I didn’t do a real poll, the world will never now.

Neal Dikeman is a partner at Jane Capital Partners LLC, and the Chairman of Carbonflow.  He is the longtime chief blogger of CleantechBlog.com

2 replies
  1. edbeards
    edbeards says:

    Some folks are reacting to the Big Spill in an unexpected way. They're realizing that all the pollution and carbon from that oil was going to end up in the environment anyway. Yes, we would've gained some useful 'work' from it on the way, but that's where all the oil and coal and gas we use ends up. Hmmmmm.

  2. Rudy Preciado
    Rudy Preciado says:

    Innovation may be stifled a bit and investors still waiting on the fence looking for the next Google in CleanTech – which may not happen anytime soon. Another look should look into 'service' plays and how their business models are fairing in this market. For example, my company is focused on water conservation in a targeted $4B market, with a healthy $33M pipeline. I could only imagine how these numbers will change dramatically as we spill over into other market segments. We take advantage of innovative technology to support our model, but we didn't create it – we just leverage the need to solid market segments. It is our business model that is setting us apart.

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