Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Newfangled cleantech investments...

Relatively benign article in Sunday's Washington Post on cleantech investing. I'm never quite sure what to make of it when the mainstream media puts this stuff out. I won't harp too much, as this reporter may actually possess a ton of experience in VC or cleantech. But he certainly goes to great pains to keep any of that expertise out of the article. Just the first line:

Everybody seems to be looking for ways to make money on technologies that are said to reduce fossil-fuel emissions, wean the country from foreign oil and, generally, save the world
I've absolutely nothing against saving the world, but most VCs I've met put "world saving potential" pretty low on their due diligence requirements. Technology potential, a solid management team and a growing market seem a bit more important.

Other issues:
  • The reporter drops the statement "bubble-like feel" into the article, continuing that meme pushed in many mainstream outlets, despite neither describing what a bubble is, why cleantech investing has that feel, or what to look for if one was happening.
  • Couldn't quite understand the one investor's complaints about overvaluations, especially as attributed it to legislation that hasn't actually yet been passed. As opposed to say, a surfeit of cleantech investors with have a lot of cash for cleantech investments, and very few places to park it. Supply and demand, no? Seemed ironic when he then described his investment in one of the most oversubscribed cleantech opportunities out there - CIGS thin-film solar. So there's this thing called the Internet...it's gonna be huge!
And of course, the obligatory close on the power of Hydrogen:
Energy security and environmental security are coming together," said C.E. "Sandy" Thomas, president and founder of H2Gen. "Hydrogen is one of the solutions that solves both."
Nothing against hydrogen. Just not sure why an emphasis in this article.

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