Cleantech Is Dead, Long Live Cleantech


Editor’s note:Rob Day is a venture capital and project finance investor with Black Coral Capital, a private-equity firm based in Boston, Mass.

I’m old enough to remember when the smartest folks on Sand Hill Road thought cleantech was going to be the next big thing. When venture dollars into the « sector » (really, a loose collection of very different markets and technologies, bundled together under a convenient label) were growing by leaps and bounds year over year. When the New York Times declared « Capitalism to the Rescue » in embarrassingly fawning terms. When Alan Salzman of VantagePoint declared that cleantech startups would be bigger than Google, Cisco, and Amgen. And of course, CalPERS’ « Green Wave. »

Today, of course, « cleantech » is almost a forbidden word on Sand Hill Road. Only a few stalwart specialist investors still wave the banner; quarterly venture capital investments into clean energy…

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