Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Limping Economy Threatens Clean Tech Gravy Train

Clean Technology startups enjoyed another banner quarter in Q3, taking in $2.6 billion in venture capital investments, with 43% of that going to California companies. The most active investors were all from the Bay Area and included four venture capital funds and Google. So far, $6.6 billion has been invested in clean tech startups this year-- more than all of last year. Year over year, investment in Q2 and Q3 was up 17% and 37%, respectively.

But all is not well. Experts predict that the economic slowdown (can we finally say "recession" yet?) will impact the industry hard. Industries such as biofuels which are not as far along as other alternative energy sectors on the development curve, threaten to get hit the hardest.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

"One of the quarter's top investors - Wilber James of Rockport Capital Partners - said that although investments in clean technology will continue, venture capitalists will be more cautious about their investment partners and about how much money startups need to break even. "Nobody can just assume the public markets will be available in two or three years," he said. "

The three sectors that raised the most money were thin films for capturing solar energy, smart power grids and algae for producing fuel.