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All the good VC blogs mashed up into one feed. Learn more at http://tinyurl.com/acs7l



Published: Tue, 09 Jul 2013 07:45:57 +0000

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The Link Between Infinite Computing and Machine Learning

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 13:35:38 +0000

At the Formlabs Digital Factory event in June, Carl Bass used the phrase Infinite Computing in his keynote. I’d heard it before, but I liked it in this context and it finally sparked a set of thoughts which felt worthy of a rant. For 50 years, computer scientists have been talking about AI. However, in the...

The post The Link Between Infinite Computing and Machine Learning appeared first on Feld Thoughts.




All Human Beings Have Equal Value

Sat, 19 Aug 2017 14:31:32 +0000

Arnold Schwarzenegger says it brilliantly.

The post All Human Beings Have Equal Value appeared first on Feld Thoughts.




What Are The Limits of Tolerance?

Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:33:44 +0000

I’ve had an emotionally challenging morning so far. I woke up too early and was deeply agitated. I tried to get rolling, couldn’t, and went back to bed. But I wasn’t able to fall asleep and my brain kept cycling on all the political chaos and societal hatred that is going on. I’ve tried to compartmentalize...

The post What Are The Limits of Tolerance? appeared first on Feld Thoughts.




Book: Option B

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 15:46:39 +0000

I read Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant’s book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy a few weeks ago. It’s a must read for every human on this planet. Some of you know that I’m a huge fan of Adam Grant. His book Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success is a...

The post Book: Option B appeared first on Feld Thoughts.




Back From My Blogging Break

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 13:36:30 +0000

I took the last two weeks off from blogging. It was a nice vacation. While I try to blog every day, I don’t have a daily ritual like Fred Wilson does. Fred and I have talked about this a few times – for him, it is meditation, discipline, and ritual. I’ll let him say it...

The post Back From My Blogging Break appeared first on Feld Thoughts.




Founder Friendly

Sun, 13 Aug 2017 10:31:20 +0000

Long time VC watcher, writer, and analyst Dan Primack suggested on Friday that the days of VCs trying to out “founder friendly” each other are now over. It is an interesting observation and was worthy of a reply. The VC industry is highly competitive for the best opportunities and we certainly do try to ingratiate […]



A Public Record

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 10:54:13 +0000

AVC has been going on for almost 14 years now. I write every day, mostly about tech and investing in startups and observations about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. WordPress says I have posted 7,622 times. That is more than once a day but that is because I used to post multiple times a day. Now I […]



Greed Isn’t Good

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 12:24:13 +0000

The famous Gordon Gekko line that “greed is good” is bandied about quite often to explain why capitalism, and the pursuit of riches, is a positive thing for the economy, society, and the world at large. Greed is not good. There is a fine line between the profit motive and greed. I am a firm […]



Book: The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 16:54:15 +0000

The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries was one of two books I read this weekend (the other was Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness). It was outstanding. I made it the August book club book for my dad and my brother. And then, this morning, I woke up...

The post Book: The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries appeared first on Feld Thoughts.




Total Failure at Summer Maker Mode

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 16:31:34 +0000

On May 24th, I wrote a post titled Shifting To Maker Mode For The Summer. I had full intentions of making this shift around Memorial Day and sustaining it until Labor Day. I have completely failed at this. While I’m managed to stay off social media and read a lot more than watch TV, I massively...

The post Total Failure at Summer Maker Mode appeared first on Feld Thoughts.




Money Is A Consensual Hallucination

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 13:33:48 +0000

My favorite Onion article of all time (from 2010) is U.S. Economy Grinds To Halt As Nation Realizes Money Just A Symbolic, Mutually Shared Illusion. It starts off with some Bernanke brilliance. “Though raising interest rates is unlikely at the moment, the Fed will of course act appropriately if we…if we…” said Bernanke, who then paused for...

The post Money Is A Consensual Hallucination appeared first on Feld Thoughts.




The Center For American Entrepreneurship

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:29:33 +0000

A new non-profit organization, the Center for American Entrepreneurship, launched yesterday. While there are lots of non-profits supporting entrepreneurship, CAE is organized around the idea of engaging and educating policymakers in Washington and at state and local levels across the nation, regarding the critical importance of entrepreneurs and startups to innovation. I met the John Dearie...

The post The Center For American Entrepreneurship appeared first on Feld Thoughts.




The Pessimists’ Future

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:09:31 +0000

An amazing book. But a dark, dark future. Or not, depending on whether or not you believe we are actually living in a computer simulation already.  

The post The Pessimists’ Future appeared first on Feld Thoughts.




Succession Planning In Partnerships

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 12:35:53 +0000

I read today that the founders of KKR have named Joseph Bae and Scott Nuttall as co-Presidents and heir apparents. I’ve written before about succession planning in investment firms. Getting this right is challenging. There are a lot of stakeholders; the investors, the partners, the employees, the portfolio companies. Everyone worries about what might change under […]



Investing in Women Entrepreneurs

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 15:50:44 +0000

Flybridge is pleased to announce the creation of XFactor Ventures, a $3m women-focused micro-seed fund. You can read more about it here: My Medium post My partner, Chip's, Medium post TechCrunch If you are interested in submitting a business plan,...



Working Across Many Time Zones

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 11:38:32 +0000

I was in Europe for most of June and working on a lot of things with people in the bay area. The nine hours time zone were challenging. I was doing a lot of calls in the evenings with people who were just waking up. There were many times when I woke up in Europe […]



Doing The Heavy Lifting

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 08:00:23 +0000

Most venture capital investments are made, over time, by syndicates. This means a group of venture capital firms develops around a company, usually built over multiples rounds. Some of the firms in the syndicate agree to (or require) having a partner from their firm join the Board of the company. If you look at the […]



Open Source Funding Documents

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 07:35:41 +0000

Cooley, one of the top startup law firms, has open sourced the legal documents required to do a Series Seed or Convertible Note financing. They are available on Cooley’s CooleyGo document generation platform and also on GitHub. Kudos to Cooley for doing this. We need to make the transaction costs of getting a financing done […]



Video Of The Week: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report

Sat, 17 Jun 2017 05:56:45 +0000

This is a few weeks old, but I finally got around to watching it. Mary always does a nice job of summarizing the latest trends.



ICOs and VCs

Thu, 01 Jun 2017 06:06:43 +0000

The Brave browser team concluded an ICO for their Basic Attention Token yesterday in about thirty seconds. This led to this tweet: The Basic Attention Token (BAT) ICO just raised 30 million dollars in 24 seconds. VC’s didn’t even have time to put on a sweater vest. — briantobal (@briantobal) May 31, 2017 Of course folks […]



Announcing a New General Partner at Flybridge

Mon, 20 Jun 2016 16:03:36 +0000

I am thrilled to welcome Jesse Middleton to the Flybridge family. Jesse is joining us as a General Partner to help lead our NYC office. This hire is a big deal for us. Jesse is the first General Partner we’ve...



SoftTech VC Closes $150M Across Two New Funds

Wed, 08 Jun 2016 12:30:23 +0000

Early in January 2016, I was thrilled to announce Stephanie Palmeri and Andy McLoughlin becoming Partners! At that time, we filed SEC Form Ds disclosing the creation of two new funds – SoftTech VC V and SoftTech Plus. We’re delighted to announce that both funds have closed at their hard cap, respectively $100M and $50M –  great news as we celebrate our 12-year anniversary. Most importantly, we are beyond excited by the myriad of new, radical innovations we see coming from early stage entrepreneurs and the opportunity we have to help them realize their vision with our active support and capital.

To share a bit of background: we invest our funds on a 3-year investment cycle and will be wrapping up Fund IV (that held a final close a couple of years ago) as planned sometime in Q316. Why raise a fund when we had plenty of dry powder in Fund IV? When we discussed our fund raising plans with ... Read more »




Growth vs. Profitability

Tue, 17 May 2016 23:43:54 +0000

I have a new post on my newly designed blog: Growth vs. Profitability and Venture Returns. A reporter from BostInno tweeted that the blog post should have been titled: Profitability isn't cool. You know what's cool? Venture returns. seeingbothsides.com/2016/05/16/gro… via...



Updated Blog - Seeing Both Sides

Sun, 03 Apr 2016 22:00:05 +0000

I've moved out of the dark ages and (finally) shifted from Typepad to WordPress. I will keep this blog site up, but all new posts can be found at Seeing Both Sides. Enjoy!



Advice to Grads: Join A Winning Startup (v. 2016)

Sat, 26 Mar 2016 15:58:44 +0000

Around this time of year, many students are focused on finding a job in Startup Land and building their careers. If you have your own idea and no one can talk you out of it, that's awesome. But for most...



Why Every Company Needs a Growth Manager

Thu, 25 Feb 2016 13:20:19 +0000

(this post was originally published in Harvard Business Review and is co-authored with Nadav Benbarak of Okta.) Growing revenue and profits is a core objective of most companies, and it is the responsibility of every function to contribute to the...



Sentenai

Fri, 22 Jan 2016 01:10:39 +0000

Today, we are announcing co-leading a $1.8m seed investment in Sentenai, an exciting machine learning company based in Boston, alongside our friends at Founder Collective, Project11 as well as a new local seed fund, Hyperplane. Sentenai is one of those...



Stephanie Palmeri and Andy McLoughlin both made Partners!

Tue, 19 Jan 2016 17:00:59 +0000

You got the gist of it – now read on for more details.

First, Stephanie: ever since I met her 5 years ago, I have been impressed by her drive, smarts and resourcefulness. Even though I sort of pushed her away initially, we were lucky enough to have Stephanie join us as Senior Associate then Principal – and sponsor 18 investments across Fund III and IV (including Niche [TWTR], Grovo, and ClassDojo), sourcing and supporting several more. Not only has Stephanie developed the fundamental skills that make a great investor (sourcing, board leadership, fundraising, legal), she has supported companies in good times and challenging ones, and become an invaluable contributor to both our SoftTech family and the broader ecosystem. Thanks to her hard work, Stephanie has demonstrated that she has earned the Title and I am very excited to share the good news: Stephanie is now my Partner.

Andy joined us last April as Venture Partner after ... Read more »




New Year, New Fund

Tue, 12 Jan 2016 02:32:15 +0000

As a former entrepreneur, I have always viewed venture capital as a service business. That’s a funny line for many because, historically, VCs are viewed (and at times reviled) as judges or overlords. When we started Flybridge over thirteen years...



Pixar President’s Wisdom

Fri, 08 Jan 2016 17:31:19 +0000

Some highlights from Ed Catmull’s Creativity Inc. Ed is the President of Pixar. “If there is more truth in the hallways than in meetings, you have a problem. “The desire for everything to run smoothly is a false goal. “The truth is, the cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of...



Impact Entrepreneurship

Thu, 07 Jan 2016 18:08:43 +0000

Paul Graham sparked a furious debate over the last few days about inequality with his blog post, Economic Inequality. He points out that the focus of the dialog should shift from inequality to combating poverty and providing more economic opportunity....



Analyzing Boston's Reindeer (Not Unicorns)

Thu, 17 Dec 2015 02:47:21 +0000

A few years ago, I did an analysis on the Boston-based companies that were worth more than $500 million in value, which I called Boston Unicorns. One of the (somewhat depressing) conclusions I made at the time was "there have...



Boston’s WebInno Is Now BIG

Mon, 19 Oct 2015 11:00:03 +0000

Back in June, the local Boston tech community together celebrated the ten year anniversary of the Web Innovators Group, affectionately known as “WebInno.”  Now Boston’s largest regular tech conference, every few months it draws hundreds of attendees from the entrepreneurial ecosystem – including founders, software engineers, startup executives, and investors. Each gathering showcases early stage […]

The post Boston’s WebInno Is Now BIG appeared first on GenuineVC.




Announcing Our Investment in Renoviso

Mon, 28 Sep 2015 11:44:32 +0000

A few years ago I replaced all of the decades-old windows in our home with new ones.  The entire process was horrible.  I used home service lead-gen and recommendation-review sites to identify a half-dozen installers to set up initial in-person consultation appointments.  Only half of them even showed up.  For those who did, I was […]

The post Announcing Our Investment in Renoviso appeared first on GenuineVC.




Seeking Nonconsensus

Thu, 27 Aug 2015 12:42:51 +0000

Tales become legends about founders of exceptionally transformative companies who truly struggled to get any investors’ attention early on.  These rejection emails to the founder of Airbnb represent just one of the most recent example of this familiar theme. If a startup were obvious, then everybody would be doing it.  And it wouldn’t be an […]

The post Seeking Nonconsensus appeared first on GenuineVC.




Introducing the NextView Talent Exchange: Connecting Top Talent to Startups

Tue, 05 May 2015 13:42:27 +0000

Today, I’m thrilled to publicly announce NextView’s Talent Exchange, a program helping both top talent and NextView-backed startups connect with each other more easily, beginning with Boston companies (which make up just over half our portfolio). Below, I’ll quickly explain the genesis of this initiative and share a few more key details. One of my first […]

The post Introducing the NextView Talent Exchange: Connecting Top Talent to Startups appeared first on GenuineVC.




Huddle’s Andy McLoughlin joins SoftTech VC

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 16:01:41 +0000

All of us at SoftTech are excited to announce that Andy McLoughlin (LinkedIn) will join us as a full-time Venture Partner on April 1st, 2015.

In 2006, Andy co-founded London-based Huddle, an enterprise content collaboration company which has raised over $80M to date. Over the years, he led technology, product, marketing, and strategy, eventually moving to San Francisco in 2010 to establish the company’s US presence.

About five years ago, Andy started his angel investing career. He has built a portfolio of 35+ pre-seed/seed stage investments, mostly in the Saas/B2B space but also covering e-commerce and mobile. He was the very first angel in our own Postmates. His other angel deals include Secret Escapes, Apiary, Tray.io, Buffer, Intercom, and Pipedrive.

When we spoke to founders he backed, Andy was consistently praised for the quality and relevance of his advice, and the value add he was able to deliver despite having “a day job”. We can’t wait to ... Read more »




Fellow VCs: Here’s Where to Invest $1B+

Mon, 16 Mar 2015 12:33:44 +0000

A couple weeks ago my colleague Dimitri Dadiomov published a post on NextView’s “View From Seed” blog which answered the question “Should we take Harvard MBAs Seriously as Startup Founders?”  The (obvious) answer of “yes” he supported with comprehensive research about the entrepreneurial activity coming out of Harvard’s business school. We knew that it was […]

The post Fellow VCs: Here’s Where to Invest $1B+ appeared first on GenuineVC.




SoftTech VC Roundtable: Tamara Mendelsohn, VP Marketing at Eventbrite

Wed, 11 Mar 2015 18:35:33 +0000

We’ve launched a speaker series at SoftTech VC for our portfolio company founders and executives. Over the next year, we’ll invite experts and friends to speak to an intimate audience about a wide variety of topics. While much of the content will be “off the record” to encourage open dialog, here’s a peek into our inaugural event featuring Tamara Mendelsohn, VP of Marketing at Eventbrite. 

Not many marketers begin as a startup’s first marketing hire and go on to build and lead a 60+ person global marketing team over five years. Tamara broke the mold, joining Eventbrite after earning her MBA at MIT Sloan School of Management to focus on community and over time building out a cross-functional, cross-continent marketing organization. We were excited to pick her brain. Top of mind to the early stage founders and marketing leaders in the room was understanding how Tamara grew a marketing organization from scratch – beginning ... Read more »




VC Ground Game

Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:14:38 +0000

Conventional wisdom says that the best way to meet with a venture capitalist is to get a warm introduction.  (While it’s a good rule of thumb, it’s not entirely true, which I’ve blogged about previously.) However, there’s another way that I’ve seen entrepreneurs use mutual connections that’s even more impactful than a warm introduction: a […]

The post VC Ground Game appeared first on GenuineVC.




The “Come-from-Behind” Lead Investor

Thu, 15 Jan 2015 16:08:33 +0000

As an entrepreneur, if you’re running a venture capital fundraise effectively, you’re treating the process like a sale process: identifying a set of prospects to fill the top of the funnel, cultivating those relationships over a series of meetings, then narrowing down to a handful of contender firms who will ultimately make an offer to […]

The post The “Come-from-Behind” Lead Investor appeared first on GenuineVC.




The Unique but Powerful Way the HubSpot Mafia is Impacting Boston Startups

Wed, 03 Dec 2014 15:25:59 +0000

It’s official: now two months after the IPO, HubSpot has surpassed the $1B market cap threshold and has become that “pillar” company that the tech ecosystem long anticipated. The benefits have been touted previously: an anchor for attracting and retaining talent in Boston, as well as a breeding ground for the next set of great […]

The post The Unique but Powerful Way the HubSpot Mafia is Impacting Boston Startups appeared first on GenuineVC.




The Market Is Hot for Code Climate, NextView’s Newest Investment

Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:05:08 +0000

When Chad Pytel introduced me to Bryan Helmkamp, CEO/Co-founder of Code Climate, I knew that I had to pay attention.  Chad is the CEO of thoughtbot, a consulting firm that makes web + mobile apps for early-stage startups.  The two companies had been working together for a while, especially as both are deeply embedded within […]

The post The Market Is Hot for Code Climate, NextView’s Newest Investment appeared first on GenuineVC.




How to be an angel investor, Part 3

Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:08:12 +0000

This guest post is by Tyler Willis an entrepreneur and angel investor. You can learn more about him on AngelList. For several interesting macro-economic reasons [1], more and more people are becoming angel investors. This is a good thing – it allows more investors to participate in a high-growth (but high-risk) area of our economy....



The Road to Our Investment in Bridj

Thu, 04 Sep 2014 20:40:29 +0000

Mass transportation is the largest single source of travel within metropolitan areas across the globe, but our current fixed infrastructure approach hasn’t changed since the 19th century.  Here in our innovation hub of Boston, the country’s oldest subway tunnel built in 1897 is still in use as part of the MBTA Green Line.  Each day […]

The post The Road to Our Investment in Bridj appeared first on GenuineVC.




Why We Need to Bring Early-Stage Venture Investors Into NextWave Greentech

Mon, 07 Jul 2014 13:00:02 +0000

Why do we even need to talk about the next wave of greentech? And what is it, anyway? When I started talking about an emerging next wave of greentech entrepreneurs and investors a couple of years ago, it was admittedly just described as "not what we did during the last decade." It was defined mostly by what it was not. And that was on purpose. In the spirit of figuring it out together, the idea was simply to learn the lessons of what had not worked, and to develop a variety of new strategies with more pragmatic approaches across the board. Hardware, software, internet, service-based models, all of them. A big tent. Therefore, the term was somewhat vaguely defined. As we're now exactly one month away from the NextWave Greentech conference, I've been reflecting a bit on some of the lessons learned over the past couple of years. And I think many of these efforts are now converging in a consistent new way of thinking, both for entrepreneurs and investors. It's still a big tent, but one with a consistent theme -- and one that increasingly matches where the overall venture capital community is headed as well. If your goal is to see more greentech startups get funded and eventually succeed, this overlap with the evolution of the general venture model is crucial. It turns out, the overlap is around a pretty simple theme: capital required to get started, and time required to get revenue. First, let's grossly over-generalize today's venture model into two broad buckets: early stage and growth stage. Early stage is the classic, romanticized image of venture capitalists who back startups during their initial creative stage. Growth stage is about putting big dollars behind established companies with significant momentum. Both models are alive and well, although in recent years there's clearly been a shift of emphasis and dollars into growth stage. But growth stage is pretty mercenary, in that it's not very sector-specific. If a startup has an obvious growth and potential exit story, growth-stage investors will back it, almost regardless of business model, technology, etc. Which is all totally fine -- unless you want to see more greentech startups get funded, as growth-stage investors are totally neutral to that goal. Growth stage is about investing in companies that are already on a clear path to success, but we need to see more startups helped onto that path in the first place. Because of the agnostic nature of growth stage, the funding patterns there are less of an endorsement of "next wave" pragmatism or any other theme, as it's just an aggregation of idiosyncratic stories that happened to finally arrive at an attractive stage for such funders. As such, there's no coherent, evident strategy to inform future entrepreneurs and set them on a pathway to success. So therefore t[...]



SoftTech VC Raises $85M For Its Fourth Fund

Fri, 27 Jun 2014 21:45:36 +0000

Our firm SoftTech VC hit three critical milestones in 2014: we opened our San Francisco office in April, celebrated our ten year anniversary in May, and now with great excitement, we are delighted to announce the close of our latest fund, $85M SoftTech VC IV. This brings our total capital under management to $155M.

Why $85M, which is quite a bit more than our $55M Fund III raised in 2010-11? That fund backed 55 companies over 3 years, as planned. About $25M were allocated to initial investments, and $30M were earmarked for follow-ons. Things worked perfectly until we saw the median size of A rounds increase from $5-6M to $8-10M in the last year – with a few of our companies raising up to $15M. Not a bad problem to have given the traction that they had developed, but these large rounds threw off our reserves model. So we decided to increase the size of Fund IV to allow for ... Read more »




An Intimate Conversation With… FAKEGRIMLOCK

Thu, 26 Jun 2014 18:15:26 +0000

We're gearing up for NextWave (register today!), and I really wanted to have FAKEGRIMLOCK keynote the conference. However, the fire commissioner said it would be a safety hazard to have a fire-breathing robot dinosaur show up and possibly eat many of the conference attendees, so that idea didn't work. What's that? You haven't heard of FAKEGRIMLOCK? If you haven't, it just goes to show the continuing (and in my mind, unfortunate) gulf between the IT and the greentech entrepreneurial communities. FAKEGRIMLOCK is a well-known startup robot dinosaur that lives on the internet and punches entrepreneurs in the face until their "fail" falls out. If you're not already following FAKEGRIMLOCK on Twitter, you should -- it's a lot of good advice for fearless entrepreneurs, in a fun format. And he's become an important tech "influencer" (pretty sure he would eat anyone uttering that phrase, however), collaborating with the likes of Eric Ries, Fred Wilson and Brad Feld. And he has authored a fun book of advice for entrepreneurs as well. Oh, and he also makes a bunch of awesome posters and such!  So as you might imagine, I was pleased when as an alternative to introducing a safety hazard to NextWave, I was granted the opportunity to interview FAKEGRIMLOCK on the topic of greentech entrepreneurship for this column. A dangerous undertaking, but hey, I'm a greentech investor, so I'm used to danger. As you'll see below, he laid down some challenges for cleantech entrepreneurs. And as we gear up to talk about the ways to drive success out of the next wave of greentech, these are challenges to take to heart. Rob: You usually talk about internet and IT startups, and while there are increasingly a lot of overlapping efforts in the greentech sector, much of the sector remains very separate from the rest of the tech community. What should greentech entrepreneurs learn from internet and IT entrepreneurs, to prevent becoming GRIMLOCK lunch? WHAT LEARN? EVERYTHING. GREENTECH THINK LIKE OLD, FAT, DYING COMPANIES. THAT DUMB. UNLESS GOAL IS TO FAIL. LEARN FROM STARTUPS THAT WIN: 1. BUILD WHAT MARKET WANT, NOT WHAT WISH THEM WANT 2. START SMALL AND SCALE, NOT START BIG AND FAIL 3. IF NEED ARTIFICIAL ADVANTAGE FROM GOVERNMENT OR REGULATION, YOU DOING IT WRONG EVEN IF GREENTECH, IF NO CAN BUILD VERSION THAT WIN IN GARAGE OR TINY LAB WITH HANDFUL OF PEOPLE, BIG LAB AND TEAM NOT GOING TO HELP YOU. DO THAT, MAYBE HAVE CHANCE OF NOT BE LUNCH. NO GUARANTEE. Rob: While there are software/internet-based startups in greentech, many entrepreneurs in the sector are innovating around hardware. Sometimes very big, capital-intensive hardware (almost GRIMLOCK-like, in fact). How can such entrepreneurs still “Win Like Stupid&[...]



The State of Cleantech Entrepreneurship in 2014

Tue, 17 Jun 2014 17:25:10 +0000

As the time approaches to get serious about NextWave14 (coming up in just a few weeks!), I thought it would be a good time to take a step back and review how the overall "sector" is doing right now. And by and large, it's a happy picture. The markets are booming I put "sector" in quotation marks above because we all know that this is really a collection of a wide variety of markets and applications gathered under a consistent investment thesis. Cleantech isn't a sector; it's a lens for finding big opportunities across sectors. But across many of those markets right now, we're seeing amazing growth continue. Solar, especially rooftop and community-scale, continues to boom. And it's only going to continue as costs continue to be driven down. For the first time, more than one-third of all rooftop solar installations in Q1 happened without any state-provided incentives at all. Large-format electricity storage is still in its early days, but is expected to grow quickly, with as much as sevenfold capacity growth in the U.S. by 2020. Electric vehicle sales keep setting monthly records. They were ten times higher in May than they were just three years ago. Microgrids are in their early stages, but are poised for a big breakout -- especially since some big corporate players are quietly positioning themselves to drive the market starting this year. Automated demand-response markets are projected to grow by a factor of 15 over the next decade. And energy efficiency has never been hotter, thanks to new scalable business models, financing, lower costs, and increased buy-in from all the major business, market and political stakeholders. LED lighting installations are growing at a 435 percent CAGR. No, that's not a typo. The above statistics are just a short list of relevant market stats -- markets for new technologies and business models in other areas like water, food and transportation are all growing quickly as well. And let's not forget, the market opportunities are perhaps even bigger for the developing world. Ten years ago, I remember a lot of optimism about the potential for exciting market growth in cleantech. Now that's a reality. It's very exciting to see. As McKinsey recently stated quite plainly: "The world is on the cusp of a resource revolution." The big corporates are jumping in From fuels to smart buildings to storage to transportation, there's never been more serious corporate interest in the next wave of technologies and business models.  As I recently pointed out, a large proportion of the growth-stage cleantech venture deals now being done include -- and sometimes are even led by -- corporate investors. Anecdotally, I've seen a surge[...]