by Richard Youngman
| April 24th 2013
Last week we hosted our 9th European Cleantech Forum, where we took on the task of “re-imagining cleantech”.
The event set new attendance records. Conventional wisdom would suggest that, in its ninth year and with the cleantech moniker out of fashion in investment circles, this event should show signs of being past its peak. And yet, the more committed and enlightened of you keep coming – our sincerest thanks for that – and more new faces, new companies and new countries are added to the delegate list each year. These included, this year, representatives from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.
So why is that? That is because, as my keynote called out, we only just started.
I argued that, although investment numbers may be down, the market for clean technology products is still in growth and, according to a 2012 Roland Berger/WWF report, has become as sizeable a global market as a number of long-established industrial segments.
I argued that it was not that we had got the power and inevitability of the mega-trends giving rise to this huge innovation opportunity wrong, but we had learnt, painfully, that there is no quick buck to be made (without a …
by Greg Neichin
| March 24th 2013
After some well deserved toasts with our staff and a few good night’s sleep, I have finally begun to digest the amazing week that we just had in San Francisco. I have had the pleasure of co-hosting Cleantech Group’s San Francisco Forum for the past three years, yet none of those previous gatherings came close to the energy and dynamism of this year’s event.
I have to admit that the turnout and enthusiasm surprised even me. This was supposed to be a year that cleantech was down and out. With venture support cooling, solar manufacturers failing, and the global economy still sputtering, this would not, on the face of it, be the best time to throw a cleantech party.
But throw a party we did; and much to our delight and sincere appreciation, you all showed up. Not only did you grab a glass of champagne, but investors announced new capital commitments, corporate dealmakers spoke openly about opportunity areas, and entrepreneurs from around the world unveiled brand new companies.
What gives? With some time to reflect, I think that there were four key drivers that really ignited this year’s Forum.
#1 – Corporate strategics get it and are playing …
by Whitney Michael
| October 1st 2012
We’ve just released this year’s list of the top 100 private companies in cleantech. From energy efficiency, biofuels & biochemicals to smart grid, renewable energy, water and waste, and transportation, this list identifies the private cleantech companies most likely to make a significant market impact over the next five to ten years.
To qualify for the Global Cleantech 100, companies must be independent, for-profit, cleantech companies not listed on any major stock exchange. This year, we received over 8,000 nominations for 5,117 companies from 85 countries. A 75-member expert panel, including leading global investors and a wide range of corporate executives from multi-national enterprises such as ABB, BP, Ecolab, GE, General Motors, IBM, Intel, Johnson Controls, Procter and Gamble, and Vestas, gave input on the shortlisted 236, to get to the final list of 100 companies from 13 countries.
Cleantech Group also presented awards in eight categories to clean technology innovators at the Global Cleantech 100 Gala at the Italian Embassy in Washington, DC on October 1.
Company of the Year was awarded in each of three regions to the highest-ranked company with no negative …
| September 4th 2012
Last week saw plenty of exciting news in the world of cleantech investment and partnerships, notably so in clean transportation.
ALTe Powertrain Technologies, an Auburn Hills, Michigan based supplier of hybrid and electric vehicle power trains, has become the latest US-based electric vehicle technology developer to turn to China for financial backing and promise of a burgeoning market for its wares. The company has formed a $200 million joint venture with China’s MESA Century Energy Technology to build hybrid electric vehicles for the Chinese market. The deal reportedly includes $70 million in support of ALTe’s US based operations.
Better Place received a EUR40 million loan from the European Investment Bank to fund network deployments and day to day operations in Denmark and Israel. The loan marks the first ever credit facility for Better Place from a large financial institution.
And finally AMP Electric Vehicles, an Ohio based over-the-counter traded electric vehicle manufacturer, secured a commitment for a $7.5 million private growth equity round from Kodiak Capital Group, pending approval from regulators. Kodiak expressed particular interest in AMP’s EV heavy truck fleet vehicle development.
Outside of the transportation sector, insolvent solar cell manufacturer Q-Cells finally found a buyer in …
by Greg Neichin
| March 1st 2012
Over the past twelve months it has become quite in vogue, to the point of cliché, to discus the importance of partnerships to the development of the cleantech sector. What started out as a handful of initiatives by major equipment manufacturers, utilities, and service providers to better engage with early stage companies has now become a full fledged movement of cleantech partnership gospel.
If partnerships are indeed the new cleantech religion, we’re about to host the year’s biggest revival in San Francisco. Appropriately themed, The Power of Global Partnerships, our upcoming Cleantech Group Forum, March 26-28, will bring together corporate executives, investors, and entrepreneurs from around the world to discuss why the power of partnerships is not an empty pleasantry, but rather an indispensable guiding mantra for company’s both large and small.
If you have not yet registered or you are still a skeptical, non-believer who thinks that all of this talk of partnerships is nice and fuzzy, but doesn’t have real tactical bite, here are my top 5 reasons, why partnerships really, truly, sincerely-I-swear, matter to the growth of the cleantech sector.
1) Partnerships bring access to customer relationships: Most cleantech markets are brutally hard to enter. …
by Sheeraz Haji
| January 24th 2012
The death of cleantech venture capital has been greatly exaggerated. Yes, there were a few massive failures in 2011, and of course it’s been difficult for a number of cleantech venture capitalists to raise funds. However, cleantech did not implode, and neither did venture capital.
On our recent Quarterly Investment Monitor webinar I predicted 2012 will be a record year not realizing this was a particularly bold claim. However, judging by the number of comments I have received from clients and colleagues, I am realizing this may be a contrarian view. Here’s my rationale:
1) Math – We tabulated just under $9 billion in global cleantech venture investments in 2011. Since 2005, cleantech venture investment has increased each year excepts for 2008 to 2009 when we experienced the mother of all economic crises. On average, cleantech venture investments have grown 26% per year since 2005. If we use this average rate to extrapolate, we will see $11.3 billion in 2012. That’s a pretty big step up from the current record year – 2008 which saw $9.5 billion.
2) I believe we will see a couple of rock-star IPO’s in 2012 and this will drive renewed enthusiasm in cleantech and specific …
by Greg Neichin
| December 29th 2011
It’s that time of the year when pundits and prognosticators begin to opine about what will happen in 2012. Frankly, I don’t like this game. In mid-2001, I worked for a technology “futurist” firm and wrote a piece predicting that CD-R/W music players would continue to dominate in the year ahead. That was a couple months before the ipod came on the market and made me look like a fool. Not that I mind looking like a fool, but I think I’ve shied away from these declarations ever since.
However, I was inspired this week by Rob Day (@cleantechvc) to throw my hat back into the ring. Why? Because Rob actually went back and wrote a post critiquing the predictions he made from the previous year. I found this remarkable precisely because most analysts write these odes with zero accountability. As an investor, Rob actually has to bet on his predictions, so I enjoyed his self-critique. I promise to do the same – someone hold me to it!
So without further adieu, here are my top 5, slightly irreverent, predictions for cleantech internationally in the year ahead. Why international? Because I’ve spent most of the last 6 …
by Stephen Marcus
| October 5th 2011
When thinking about some of the buzzing cleantech clusters around the world, the Basque Country doesn’t often come to mind. However, since visiting the region for Cleantech Group’s bi-annual European Advisory Board Meeting, which this time was hosted in partnership with Innobasque, I have had a rapid about-face, and so should you all.
As I crossed over one of the entrance bridges to Bilbao, the main Basque municipality, one couldn’t help but notice the gigantic curved titanium exterior of the Guggenheim Museum pitted against the new high-rise Iberdrola Towers. Both act as iconic symbols of the region’s transformation from an Industrial town to an innovation hub over the past two decades.
Some of the statistics are astonishing. According to the OECD Review of Regional Innovation in the Basque Country, over 70% of the regions R&D is conducted by SMEs (firms under 250 employees), compared to under 20% for the UK. Further, the number of firms initiating R&D activities increased from 110 in 1998 to 343 in 2007. The region is also home to two Technology Corporations, Tecnalia and IK4 Research Alliance, which have over 3,000 employees with 750 cleantech dedicated researchers
The cities regeneration has also created much …
by Sheeraz Haji
| July 22nd 2011
For the past two years, we have tracked your growing interest in our Global Cleantech 100 report, Cleantech Group’s list of the top 100 private companies in clean technology. Undeniably our most frequently requested material, the Global Cleantech 100 quickly gained recognition as a leading resource for measuring the pulse of the Cleantech sector.
In response to the extraordinary interest in The Global Cleantech 100, Cleantech Group will be hosting the first-ever Global Cleantech 100 Summit and Gala, a day-and-a-half event where we will announce the 2011 Global Cleantech 100 winners live and celebrate the ways in which these leading companies are shaping the future of the sector.
The celebration will kick off with a Gala Dinner at the French Embassy where we will recognize the accomplishments of the 100 companies which made the list and present some special awards. At the Summit, we will further explore the trends shaping the Global 100 list and review who is making decisions on technologies, how cleantech is shifting value in specific sectors, and how large corporations and traditional industries are adapting. Mark your calendars (October 17-18) and take advantage of our early bird pricing by registering now for the Global …
by Josh Gould
| July 14th 2011
One of our major research focuses here at Cleantech Group is corporate-to-corporate relationships. We track them in i3 for our research subscribers. We also capture them in our market map (see the picture above). We spend so much time on relationships because we believe they have an outsized influence on cleantech relative to other industries.
Why? That is worthy of a post in itself but a few quick reasons include market share (in lighting, for instance, just 3 players have a combined 50% share of the market), importance of customer and channel access (e.g., governmental and utility clients whom are difficult for startups to reach), influence with regulators, and the mutually dependent relationship between large, slower-growing company balance sheets and the often superior ability of smaller companies to innovate.
So let’s say you agree with our thesis that corporate relationships matter in cleantech. But what really matters in these relationships? That is also a topic worthy of a much longer post but here’s a few initial thoughts:
- Number: The number of relationships a company is a (albeit imperfect) proxy for the influence a company wields. A few examples of relationship numbers representing influence include GE and Schneider Electric.
- Type: We here at Cleantech Group track whether a relationship is an investment,