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: