John Doerr really, really, really likes cleantech/"greentech." And so do I (self-promotion alert -- I particularly enjoyed the highlighting of Tiger Optics, one of Expansion Capital's portfolio companies, check them out). And so does Mark Huang of GE Commercial Finance (update: another self-promotion alert, mentions Agile Systems, another one of Expansion Capital's portfolio companies, check them out too). All joking aside, all three aforementioned columns do a great job of highlighting some of the current debates and discussions going on in the cleantech VC community:
- How do you define "cleantech" in the first place? The latest PWC Moneytree survey data for Q1, for example, seems to have cleantech deals scattered across a lot of different categories (batteries under "Electronics/ Instrumentation", energy efficiency technologies under "Telecommunications", and of course a hodgepodge under "Industrial/Energy", etc.). Not picking on PWC Moneytree, it's actually a good illustration of the simple fact that "cleantech" remains in the eye of the beholder, as we've discussed here before.
- What kinds of investment periods should be expected in cleantech? Is the impact of regulations and policies greater in this investment area than in others?
- Is the solar space getting too crowded? Whether it is or isn't, what's next?
Meanwhile, in other news:
- Another biofuels project got financed -- Galveston Bay Biodiesel, in a Series B by Contango Capital Management and Chevron Technology Ventures;
- Here's a good review of some of the potential of energy efficiency technology;
- And lastly, here's a sobering picture.