Four Lessons for Cleantech Investment


"Two prominent cleantech investors share their sector expertise."

What do lucrative investors look for when deciding to fund a clean tech start-up? Two prominent clean tech investors, Vinod Khosla and General Electric's Kevin Skillern, shared important insight on this topic on a panel stage at yesterday's TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco.
  1. Rock the Boat: Look for "truly disruptive businesses" that solve the world's problems over firms with products that merely have "nice features." Both Khosla and Skillern agree that clean tech that has the potential to dramatically improve living conditions should be favored over those technologies that offer incremental benefits.
  2. Play an Active Role: Be prepared to help companies find the most compelling business case for the technology they bring to the table. Khosla believes in helping entrepreneurs incubate their best ideas for the marketplace.
  3. Efficiency First: Energy efficiency technology is just as important as cleantech built on a new platform. Improving legacy energy systems is as vital as commercializing new technology.
  4. Radical Reliance: Invest in technologies that have the potential for radical self-reliance. Khosla believes that it is imperative to choose companies that are not dependent on government subsidies over time. He says, "I don't invest in anything that can't achieve market competitiveness in five years. You should be able to achieve the price for a good that will sell in India or China without a subsidy in that time."

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