Clean energy software: Are investors ready?

Cleantech Investing: Eastwick Hosts A Night with VC Insight Into This Ever-Changing Market

By: Stephanie Kays

If there’s one thing we love to debate about in Silicon Valley it’s funding. Venture capital, angel investors and revenue are constant topics no matter what tech blog you read. Depending on who’s speaking and what industry you’re talking about, the conversation can vary from optimistic to cautious to downright scary. Cleantech is no exception to this rule and even in the recent past we’ve seen opinions from both sides of the spectrum, like Peter Shannon’s hopeful outlook in Fortune or Rob Day’s skeptical byline in TechCrunch.

Funding is a high-stakes game and when it comes to the future of cleantech, we at Eastwick keep our ear to the ground and seek out insight for our own knowledge and our clients. So, when the opportunity to sponsor a Cleanweb panel of cleantech venture capitalists (VC’s) presented itself, we grabbed on with both hands. We provided the venue (TechShop San Francisco’s gallery space — an Eastwick client!) and worked with the host, Elena Lucas, CEO of UtilityAPI to plan and promote the event. The topic was “Clean energy software: Are investors ready?” and featured insight from three Silicon Valley VC’s, including Jake Saper from Emergence Capital, Deepa Lounsbury from GE Ventures and Dave Selinger from Silicon Climate.

To kick off the night, Jake skirted the idea that “cleantech” was just one thing, and the panelists seemed to agree with the idea that cleantech companies include those that create software, hardware, and/or data to address an environmental or sustainability concern and could involve industries like water management, energy conservation, solar and agriculture.

Not surprisingly, the panel included a lot of back and forth on the topic at hand. For a deeper look into this, check out this blog by data scientist Nathan Chan, who attended the event. However, some of the most insightful points were in the quotes from the panelists that summed up the bigger topics of the night. These included consumer apathy in clean technology; federal pressure for innovation; and cleantech success tips in Silicon Valley. Below are some of the best quotes we captured while live tweeting from the @Eastwickcom handle.

Both Deepa and Jake had quite a lot to say about consumer indifference toward clean technology:

Later in the panel, Dave focused on the fact that clean technology isn’t just a “nice to have,” but it’s actually being looked to by politicians and federal workers who need to address growing pressure to curb things like emissions and increase the use of renewable energy in new transmission projects in the U.S.

Lastly, Jake offered advice to the cleantech community in the form of networking and branching out of our circle:

All in all, the night was a great success in that we were able to bring together a bigger crowd than normal for the Cleanweb events and spotlight a topic near and dear to us. To learn more about Eastwick’s work with cleantech companies and our work in other industry focuses including AdTech, HealthTech, FinTech, enterprise technology, mobile and Cloud/SaaS, check out our work.

Keep the conversation going by emailing our CleanTech team or following us on Twitter!

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