In this essay I’m developing my thoughts on how we can use markets to fix climate change. I’m calling it Deployment Led Innovation. It’s based on lessons we can draw from four spectacular cleantech success stories of the past forty years.

Back to 1985

Back in 1985 I started my studies in Environmental Technology at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands. One of our research projects that first year was to analyze energy production, and if we saw a chance for wind energy to go mainstream. Based on our research, the very clear answer was ‘extremely unlikely’.

In 1992 I worked at…


Tesla may finally fail to outrun the financial realities of normal companies. The company reported negative results over the first quarter of 2019, and it’s share price has dropped to a level not seen in years.

By any measure it has been a remarkable run for the company that was founded in 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Mark Tarpanning. It has singlehandedly transformed one of the biggest industries in the world. Estimates are that the car industry has invested around $300 billion in the development of electric cars (EVs). An astounding number of new EV models will be entering the…


It seems that the media have missed something pretty crucial in Tesla’s latest quarterly report: the tanking of the sales of it’s high end Model S and X. This post is a bit late, because I’ve been waiting for people to write about this. But it seems nobody is. So here it is.

Let’s put the latest quarterly Tesla sales numbers of the Model S and X in perspective.

In 2018 the company produced 24,728 of its high end sedan and SUV, and sold 21,800 of them.

In the first quarter of 2019, those numbers are 14,150 produced and 12,100…


Crucial resources to turn your venture into a success are talent and networks. Get ready to convince the smartest, most knowledgeable and best-connected people to join you in your quest to revolutionize the world. You not only need these people on your team, you also need them as advisors.

I cannot stress it enough: get yourself an advisory board as soon as possible. But take note, these people are going to be your close advisors the coming years. So what kind of people do you want on board for the ride? Here is a list of things to look for:


When you see loads of start-ups you start to discover patterns. I’ve probably seen over a thousand start-ups by now, most of them in cleantech. One of the patterns emerging is Founder Narcissism, which is especially prevalent when a start-up is working on an idea that feels like it will dramatically change the world for the better. Combine that with a technology that looks like something from science fiction and you get a phenomenon I like to call ‘Saving the Planet Star Wars Style’.

I run into those a lot through my work with ClimateLaunchpad, Cyclotron Road and UC Berkeley…


For much of 2017 I’ve been working with at Cyclotron Road. Since I’ve moved back to Europe after the summer, I’m not formally engaged with the team anymore. But I thought it would be good to tell startups in my network about the work they do. Because I think it’s pretty amazing what they have to offer. And I think it would be great if we create similar programs in Europe.

Cyclotron Road is a startup accelerator that is focussed on the hardest type of startup you can do. …


Founders often ask me: Do you think my idea is good? I tell them all the same thing: It doesn’t matter what I think. There are only two things that matter: whether YOU believe your idea is good, and whether you can find customers that want to buy your product. If you don’t believe in your own idea, you’re never going to convince a customer to buy your product. And if you can’t find any customers, well, you don’t have business.

As it turns out, I’m not the only one chanting this mantra. There is a great tweet storm by…


Dear Tim Cook,

Today you wrote: ‘As responsible corporate citizens, we are also proud of our contributions to local economies across Europe, and to communities everywhere.’

That is a great statement. And you have made quite an impact in the past years to show that Apple is really serious about being a responsible corporate citizen. It is one of the reasons why I am a proud customer of the wonderful products that Apple creates. As your loyal customer, I trust Apple to do the right thing. To go beyond ‘Don’t be evil’, but to actually ‘do the right thing’.

Like…


Startup Accelerators have taken the world by storm. Pioneered by Paul Graham and Jessica Livingstone in 2005 with Ycombinator, they have grown into an industry of it’s own. There are now hundreds of startup accelerators around the world (and probably over a 1000), and all of that in a little over ten years.

However, there is quite some confusion about what a startup accelerator is. Consider these possible answers, which one would you pick?

A Startup Accelerator is:
a. The low-budget airline equivalent of venture capital investing for early stages companies
b. The pivot for incubators hoping to find a business model…

Frans Nauta

startups, climate change & innovation ecosystems | visiting scholar @UCBerkeley | founder climatelaunchpad.org and @ClimateKIC Accelerator | father ||

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