I attended the SDForum Green and Clean Dinner tonight. The topic was “Where’s the Money?” Five panelists, representing a VC firm, a bank, an angel funding group, a bridge-financing firm, and an entrepreneur who has raised his money independently, discussed the various sources of funding for clean tech companies. i took extensive notes, and will provide more details later, but for now some of the highlights were:
- Liquidity may be different for clean tech companies than we got used to for high tech companies during the Internet boom
- Because of the technical risks involved in clean tech, the old venture capital adage of “market first, team second, and product third” often needs to be turned around
- Especially for power, this is a global market – Europe is at least 15 years ahead of the U.S. in terms of regulations supporting alternative energy and other clean tech
- There are a lot of entrepreneurs seeking funding – the VC read over 2,400 business plans and funded only 21. The angel investor says one of his biggest problems is “perpetual motion machine” proposals – they have to do a lot of scientific due diligence on the proposals
SDForum’s next Green and Clean event is a breakfast meeting in San Francisco on September 30, focusing on Innovation in Transportation.