A Year in Review: A look back at the 2017 Global Cleantech 100

As we look forward to the release of our 2018 Global Cleantech 100 (GCT100) on stage at Cleantech Forum San Francisco on January 22nd, we thought this would be a good opportunity to take a look back at how both our 2017 Global Cleantech 100 fared since making the list last January, and of our GCT100 alumni, in general.

The Global Cleantech 100 Program

The Global Cleantech 100 list is our barometer reading of the global innovation community’s shifting views on which companies, and which types of companies, are most likely to have big commercial impact in a 5-10 year time frame. The companies represent the most innovative and promising ideas in cleantech and that are best positioned to solve tomorrow’s clean technology challenges.

For more information on the process we go through each year, take a look at our Methodology page on our dedicated GCT100 site.

The 2017 Global Cleantech 100

There have been some noticeable successes from our 2017 GCT100. Last year’s list has raised 53 separate funding rounds in 2017 for a total of over $3.3 billion. We have outlined a few noticeable developments below:

In the Transportation sector, NIO raised $1.6 billion in the same year it announced its new high performance electric SUV, the ES8. For good measure, the company also set a new lap record at the Nürburgring in May by taking its EP9 around the circuit in 06:45.90. Electric bus developer Proterra took on just shy of $200 million to help build out its production lines, as well as taking on strategic capital from investors such as BMW i Ventures, GM Ventures, and many other leading transportation investors. ChargePoint continued to push the boundaries, scope, and capacity of electric vehicle charging infrastructure by raising a further $82 million to help shape the future of electric transportation.

Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat continued their success by raising a combined $138.4 million ($75 million and $63.4 million, respectively) to further develop plant-based meat products. Tackling the problem of resource-intensive proteins from a different angle is AgriProtein, one of the leading African startups in the cleantech ecosystem, which aims to put insects grown on organic waste into fishmeal, thus replacing the vast quantities of wild-caught fish that is currently used as feed for fish farms. With $10 million raised in 2017, and a strong scale-up partnership with tailor-made industrial plant company Christof Industries, the company should shape up well over the coming years.

Timing is everything

As the GCT100 is decided by pulling together thousands of data-points – objective and subjective, quantitative and qualitative – from all over the world, the year that GCT100 companies were founded offers an intriguing reflection of what it takes, in terms of time and investment, to build a successful cleantech startup. In figure 2, we look at the 2017 GCT100 and the years they were founded.

Figure 2: 2017 GCT100 Companies by Year Founded

As you can see, there is a concentration around companies that are 7 years old (founded in 2010); however, there is a smaller concentration around the 13-year-old mark (2004), and a good number of companies that are 5 years old or less. In this small sample (the 2017 GCT100), the 13-year-old grouping represents companies such as Tendril and Proterra, which are either working on technology that takes large CAPEX, or have pivoted their main business from the original vision. The second, and largest, spike happens around the 7-years-old mark, with companies that may be working in challenging markets (BBOXX, Mobisol), or are working on constantly evolving products (Actility, FirstFuel Software, Cosmo Tech).

A good year

So what actually happened in 2017 for the GCT100? Below are some deal highlights:

2017 GCT100 Venture & Growth Equity Deals


We look forward to announcing our 2018 Global Cleantech 100 in 12 days on the January 22nd. We hope you can join us – registration is still open for the 2018 Cleantech Forum in San Francisco!