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February - 2011 - issue > Editor's Desk
Cleantech, the future beckons!
Christo Jacob
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Talking about Cleantech reminds me of the Black Swan theory. People still view it outside the realm of regular expectations, and nothing in the past can convincingly point to its success quotient. Still, it carries an extreme impact.
A couple of years ago, before things went wrong with the economy, there were a fair number of first-time cleantech venture firms out fundraising. But the recession saw almost flat and down rounds of funding, for the industry in 2008 and 2009. However, 2010 saw a renewed interest and about $1.9 billion being invested in cleantech ventures. Thanks to the increasing interest in a broader range of cleantech themes, such as smart mobility and resource efficiency, which are now taking over from the historically dominant renewable energy sector.

This time we hope the hype continues and the industry shelves off its image as an improbable still interesting tag. But this time around it is not going to be easy either. VCs are looking out for newer platforms and business models. For firms and entrepreneurs, it will take double the vigor to make the point. From the market perspective, only the tier 1 firms are rethinking about investing and integrating in cleantech to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in order to reduce costs, mitigate energy price volatility risk, and comply with existing and pending regulations around carbon and climate change risk disclosure. For the rest of the world, cleantech still has barely managed to be in the comfort category in the economic scale of need, comfort and luxury.

However the current economic contraction and the growing interest of national governments in kick-starting a world-wide green recovery represent an opportunity to tackle important long-run economic and environmental challenges together. If the G-20 countries, who has pledged their allegiance to the greener recovery are to be believed, it will see immense opportunities for green tech firms.
All said and done, in cleantech what will succeed is how well you can predict the future and can invent it the green and clean way. We need great technology and great technologists to fulfill this mission.

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