We interviewed a number of CleanTech venture capital investors to find out what they are considering; there was quite a contrast view to our survey conducted last year. Changes in global economies and industries have brought new opportunities but also impacted on some of the “older” CleanTech industries.
Biofuels is in demand once again, there are many biofuel technologies now widely available and commercialized for a long time already. One reason for the new spring for Biofuels, according to one fund manager, was that the agricultural price reached very high point back in 2007, which made biofuel unsustainable, since then, price for agricultural commodities have declined, and biofuel is once again a viable choice.
In regards to Wind Energy, we are getting mixed feedbacks from investors, some have commented there has been a general lack of “break-through” technology in the wind energy sector, hence less investments have been allocated to this sector, others have commented that Wind Energy is more regarded as Infrastructure investments and not technology investments. Global recession had impacted on infrastructure investments due to the rising financing cost, which was another reason behind decline in wind energy investments.
Solar Energy, in similar ways, solar energy seems to have lost some attraction from Venture Capital investors, perhaps this is due to the fact it is not a new technology anymore, and a lot of innovations have been made already. There is also a general lack of good performance across solar energy stocks compared to other listed cleantech companies.
Air pollution management, a sector that has been on a rise, one attribution commented by a VC Fund was demand from Asia is now growing rapidly, especially from China and India. These demands have led to new innovative technologies relating to air pollution management and control, so far, Japan seems to have taken a good lead in this, and has developed a large range of industrial and consumer range of air-pollution products.
SmartGrid, SmartGrid is the latest buzz-word in the Cleantech industry, they have attracted a lot of attention and investments from CleanTech investors this year. There have been different applications have been developed; overall, these can improve energy efficiency, energy management and monitoring such as network monitoring, smart-meters, digital meters.
We will be covering more topics from these surveys we have conducted with the venture capital managers worldwide.