The Future Of Clean Technology: Scaling Up Through Innovative Financial Models

Ethical Markets Sustainability News, Greentech

by Martha Shaw, founder and CEO of Earth Advertising

NEW YORK, NY., Oct 14/Earth Advertising/ – Five hundred cleantech industry leaders and entrepreneurs have gathered for three days in New York City for the Cleantech Forum: Cleantech’s Scalable Future? Developing the Winning Financing Models of the Next Decade. Evident in the discussions and panels is an Increase in representation from materials, water, recycling, transportation and waste companies.

“”There have been significant changes since 2009,” says Richard Youngman, managing director of Cleantech Group’s Global Research. “We are seeing growing diversification of innovations beyond renewable energy and efficiency technologies. The wider issues of resource scarcity are starting to gain attention and traction.”

Highlighted is the release of The Global Cleantech 100: A Barometer of the Changing Face of Global Cleantech Innovation. The report is a list of the world’s most promising private cleantech companies – according to a weighted collective opinion of hundreds of industry insider’s from around the world in the cleantech community.

“The Global Cleantech 100 list represents the most rigorous, serious attempt made yet to provide a scorecard of the progress being made by cleantech companies,” says Stephan Dolezalek, CleanTech Group Leader at VantagePoint Ventures. (See Ethical Markets Green Transition Scoreboard®.)

According to the report, in 2010 energy efficiency has overtaken solar as the hottest subsector within cleantech. The sectors, in order of number of companies on the list are: energy efficiency, solar, biofuels, energy storage, energy infrastructure/smart grid, water and wastewater, transportation, recycling and waste, materials, agriculture, air & environment, manufacturing/industrial, wind, marine, geothermal, waste to energy and waste heat. Nearly two thirds of the 100 companies are shipping product, with a third in the product development stage.

Collectively they have raised nearly $4 billion over the past 2 years. According to the Cleantech Group data, 226 unique organizations have invested into the Cleantech 100 portfolio. VantagePoint Venture Partners has invested in thirteen of the companies. Kleiner Perkins has invested in twelve, Draper Fisher Jurvetson in seven, Khosla Ventures in five, Good Energies in five, Foundation Capital in five and Frog Capital in five.

Of note is the growth of Asia’s influence in cleantech, not just in production, but in innovation, shifting from “Made in China” to “Created in China.” Three Chinese companies are now on the list compared to none in last year’s report.

The Cleantech Forum this year shows that corporations are becoming more active in global cleantech innovation – as investors, partners, licensees, customers, and acquirers of cleantech companies. Google, GE, IBM, PG&E and Siemens are among the most active partners, with Smart Grid being the most active partnership.

The Forum included helpful break out sessions, including “How to Launch your Early Stage Business” and a fireside chat “Cleantech Financing, Where Do We Go From Here?”

The topic of the Valley of Death, the point where most entrepreneurial ventures fail to see the light of day, was an underlying theme. Several attendees had services to help bridge the gap, and funds to engage with start-ups in commercialization. One such company was Veolia, a French environmental services company with $48 billion in revenues, 312,590 employess and 150 years in cleantech. At the Forum, they announced The Veolia Innovation Accelerator, a program to tap the creative energy of cleantech innovators and accelerate growth.

As the outlook for the U.S. to adopt a new energy policy looks grim, utilities, states, cities and corporations are taking control. Though federal stimulus funds have flowed into the cleantech sector, and the Department of Defense has made investments of its own, the amount is not enough to stimulate a new cleantech economy at speed and scale.

The consensus at the forum is that we really don’t have to wait for the government anymore, and there are plenty of opportunities to make some money and make the world a better place.

“Government has a vital role in creating markets, yet raw supply/demand economics is already driving change,” says Nicholas Parker, co-founder of the Cleantech Group, which introduced the cleantech concept to the investment and business community in 2002. “Problems are starting to be solved. Government can ensure that its jurisdiction wins jobs, and wealth, by being part of the solution.”

For more about the Cleantech Forum, visit cleantech.com.

Free download of Global Cleantech 100 here

Photo caption:
Representatives from Global Cleantech 100 gather at Cleantech Forum New York on October 13. On the far right is Richard Youngman of Cleantech Group and producer of Global Cleantech 100.

Article written by Martha Shaw. Martha is a frequent writer on clean technology, environment and climate literacy. She is the founder and CEO of Earth Advertising, which promotes products and services that help to protect the planet, through social media, public relations, and 360º communications. See “Is the environment a moral dilemma?”