Green Resources VCS
I had a chance to join an interesting round table conversation at Stanford University on financing strategies for energy/cleantech. There were a lot of interesting ideas shared, from PACE financing efforts in California to bond structures, tax credits, REITs, MLPs and green bank concepts.
It was interesting, however, to note that pretty much every one sitting around the table was rather down on cleantech venture capital as a sector, essentially counting VCs out of the equation all together. While I don’t blame them given the lack of VC interest in the field in the recent past, there were some thoughts I shared there that maybe worth sharing here as well. In summary I believe VCs have brought, and will continue to bring, value to clean energy sectors, and there is much that can be done to create a better environment for them to participate.
1. Energy innovation would benefit by having VCs around the table. While deployment side companies are in vogue, we can’t just do incremental innovation from this point on. We need a mix of both. We need to continue funding crazier, out of the box, ideas in the sector so we have innovation ready for the next stage of deployment as well. VCs generally are able to take a slightly longer term, riskier tech view. It sounds a matter of fact now but the first VCs to take risks on building electric cars, putting solar on rooftops and taking us to Mars and beyond in search of resources were very brave, and thankfully so.
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