Why Cleantech Investing Has Morphed Into Energy and Sustainability

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a generator that makes electricity from the exhaust gases of diesel generators used at mining sites and other industrial sites. The fact that it’s greener is good and may be worth publicizing, but the primary motivation of buying this type of product is to save money through efficiency.

Energy Ventures, for example, is dedicated entirely to making oil and gas operations cleaner and more efficient. It might be a stretch to call that cleantech. But these are willing customers, said partner Shantanu Agarwal. “There are a lot of inefficiencies in an oil field,” he said.

Indeed, it may be more useful—and socially impactful—to focus on developing products to modernize energy and other heavy industries. And it’s worth noting that oil and gas drilling in the U.S. is undergoing dramatic growth thanks to the spread of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

Harvard Business School professor Joe Lassiter noted that startup C12 Energy originally wanted to sell its technology for storing CO2 underground to utilities as a way to lower emissions from power plants. Now, it’s working in the oil and gas business, where CO2 is injected underground to release more oil.

“There’s huge amounts of stuff to do here if instead of thinking about this as cleantech or green, you think of it as cleaner, safer, securer, and cheaper,” he said.

Some venture firms that did cleantech in the mid-2000s have shifted focus and taken on sustainability more explicitly. NGEN Partners, for instance, moved out of energy and into food and personal health. RockPort Capital Partners now calls itself a firm that invests in energy, sustainability, and mobile.

But RockPort Capital’s Wilson thinks that the investors who have stuck around will find some successes, which should attract more money and investors. “These things are cyclical,” he said.

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3 responses to “Why Cleantech Investing Has Morphed Into Energy and Sustainability”

  1. John Tharp says:

    Great informative article on the current state of Cleantech Investing.
    Being the Founder and CEO of Hydro-Electric Farms, Inc. a start up hydrokinetic electrical generating company, I can, by personal experience, tell you how hard it is to attract the attention of renewable energy funders. We have invented a better system, we have been granted 4 patents, we have three more patents pending, we have built and tested prototypes and are now at the ramp up stage to build, final test and set up the manufacturing facility to produce and sell our 1st generation of EcoSeaGen underwater hydrokinetic electricity producing units. We are only two years from commercialization. Three years from profitability. We need the first institutional round of capital infusion to make this happen. This journey has taken years to get to this point in time. We know we need some help to make the next step. So to those of you who read the above article, and those of you who are in the article, if you would like to learn more of our journey, technology and current status, visit http://www.hydro-electricfarms.com and then contact us.
    Thanks for chance to delve a little into the other side of Cleantech Investing.
    John Tharp
    Founder and CEO
    Hydro-Electric Farms, Inc.

  2. Thanks for reminding us that capitalism will never save the world. Some people are simply devoted to finding new ways to exploit limited resources. Meanwhile, others are learning to grow our own food, pedal our own bikes, and care for our neighbors. We’re experimenting with a gift economy and imagining a future free of exploitation. You’re welcome to join us.

  3. Ofer Keren says:

    My name is Ofer Keren and I am an
    entrepreneur in the field of energy efficiency and sustainability.

    The main activities of my team during the
    last 15 years is improving processes and lean production in factories and large

    Our dream team has 200 years of experience in clean tech projects and activity.

    We set up a new business model for investors called 9/11

    that will provide first aid to startups that come to the point where the investor plan to give up.

    It is known that 9 out of 11 startups will close the door and lose their dream

    the clean tech will lose the investment and years of research and development.

    In the clean tech world we are familiar with re-use , reduce , re-cycle. triangle. Our new activity 9/11 will check the startup with the same basic tools of clean tech to find out what can be done.
    How can we re-use the personal, how can we reduce the product cost and how can we re-cycle the research in purpose to Multiply the chance to succeed. In the penetration stage 9/11 contracts will be risk free and we will be paid just if we were able to find a new market for the startup and The investor will be happy to pay for our efforts

    do you think it will work