Next-Gen Agriculture & Food – What did we learn at Cleantech Forum SF?


Leo Zhang
The 2018 Cleantech Forum San Francisco successfully wrapped up two weeks ago, which highlighted next generation cleantech innovations. The agriculture & food sector was a key topic for this year, and as such, was allocated three separate sessions to cover various themes, including digital agriculture, sustainable food systems, and biotechnology applications. The panels consisted of leading venture investors, corporate executives, and entrepreneurs sharing their perspectives on the current challenges we face, and more importantly, how to overcome them. Digital technologies... Read More »

China’s Growing Cleantech Ecosystem and Venture Investments


Leo Zhang
When it comes to combating climate change, China is stepping onto center stage and taking a leading position to reduce its carbon footprint. At this year’s 19th Communist Party Congress, Chinese President Xi Jinping proclaimed that by "taking the driving seat in international cooperation to respond to climate change, China has become an important participant, contributor, and torchbearer in the global endeavor for ecological civilization.” In parallel, he also emphasized technology innovation as an integral part of the country’s path... Read More »

Three Agriculture & Food Trends to Watch in 2018


Leo Zhang
The agriculture & food sector has attracted an increasing number of venture investments since 2014, reaching the sector’s highest fundraising so far at more than $1.5 billion in 2017, according to data from our i3 platform. My colleague has published a recent blog post on high-profile company, Plenty, which has raised $200 million venture capital and is aiming to bring large scale vertical farming to cities. Besides vertical farming, technologies such as plant genomics, alternative proteins, drones, and more are entering... Read More »

Fragmentation in IoT – One Roadblock in IoT Deployment


Leo Zhang
The Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled the connection of millions of devices, resulting in a vast amount of data being extracted from these devices, which then enables innovation in applications areas like industrial automation, predictive maintenance, and artificial intelligence. The IoT theme is certainly an area that we have been paying close attention to, where we have seen an exponential increase in venture investments at the intersection of cleantech and IoT from traditional venture capital investors and large multinational... Read More »

Transportation, Food, Water, Energy – Recap of IN2 Summit


Leo Zhang
  [caption id="attachment_15127" align="alignright" width="292"] Source: NREL[/caption] As a Channel Partner to Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) program, Cleantech Group participated in last week’s IN2 Summit at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. With a $30 million funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation, the IN2 program is co-administered by NREL and designed to facilitate the scale-up of early-stage cleantech start-ups towards the goal of reducing energy impact. The main goal for the Summit was to take a... Read More »

Too much capital, too soon? A closer look at China and India’s recent mega-deal trends


Leo Zhang
Contributions from: Kavya Vayyasi, Summer Analyst From our latest edition of CTG Insights, a subscriber-only publication that explores key innovation themes, my colleague, Josh Gilbert, wrote an excellent article that cuts through the hype of off-grid solar investing, and raised an early warning about over-saturation of venture investments in this space. The article sparked my curiosity to explore a similar trend we are seeing in the Asia Pacific region, where significant amounts of venture capital are being invested. But are... Read More »

Riding the Agriculture & Food Wave – Indoor Vertical Farming


Leo Zhang
Following our recent blog post on alternative proteins, let’s take another look at the agriculture & food sector and touch on a related topic of sustainable food production – indoor vertical farming. Although vertical farming has yet to attract similar level of investments compared to alternative proteins, this space is certainly worth keeping track of as we expect more mega-cities to form over the next decade, and subsequently, the demand for a more sustainable food production system. Below is a... Read More »

China Emerging as an Innovation Leader: Lessons Learned From Our 2017 Cleantech Tour of China


Leo Zhang
On March 21-23, Cleantech Group has the pleasure of leading its 5th Cleantech Tour of China with a group of young, Western clean technology companies and investors with relevant portfolio companies for 3 full days of meetings and network-building activities. The tour provides cleantech CEOs and investors with an excellent introduction to doing business in China, as well as the opportunity to showcase their companies to multiple China-based investors and partners. Many Western technology companies and investors, without a doubt,... Read More »

Evolving Landscape in Industrial Biotech


Leo Zhang
Many regular readers of our blogs may recall the slew of mega deals in the Industrial Biotech sector around the 2006 time frame. Fast forward to 10 years later, such hype has certainly ceased, as evidenced by the withdrawal of many institutional investors in this space, as well as the write-offs of multiple companies that were once poised to disrupt the petroleum industry. When global oil prices dropped below $40/barrel, compounding the challenging task of scaling up a technology within... Read More »

Where industrial biotech fundraising is still seeing success


Leo Zhang
From our previous blog post, we highlighted the evolution of smart grid venturing – how smart gird innovation today is all about the internet-of-things (IoT). In this blog post, we will highlight how venture investments in industrial biotech have shifted over the past 10 years. Venture capital investment in industrial biotech, especially to many in Silicon Valley, is considered a thing of the past. Companies such as KiOR, Cobalt Technologies, and Range Fuels have all but failed to disrupt the... Read More »