From Bioplastics To Plastic Alternatives – Recent Investment Snapshot Of Alternative Packaging Solutions


Leo Zhang
The chemical sector is facing increasingly stricter environmental regulations and the old school business model of selling petroleum-based chemicals in bulk has reached its plateau. Consumers are also becoming more involved in sustainability, demanding more green products from manufacturers. Plastic is a classic example to illustrate the significant environmental effects the use of petroleum-based chemicals. A UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) studied showed that more than 8 million tons of plastic are being dumped in our oceans each year, while the... Read More »

Securing IoT for the Clean Economy: A review of product trends through recent deal activity


Troy Ault
On March 15, in its first announcement of sanctions against Russian actors, the Trump administration formally acknowledged attempted cyber attacks on US electricity grid infrastructure. Prevention, detection and response to such attacks have been improving ever since the first known cyber-attack successful in disrupting grid service (also attributed to Russian actors) occurred in Ukraine in December 2015. It’s not just the Kremlin; today, utility folks we’ve spoken to say that attempts at cyber-infiltration of physical infrastructure are understood to be... Read More »

Power Breakfast Recap: Biotech + Sustainability: 2018 and Beyond


Leo Zhang
On Wednesday, March 7, we held our latest Power Breakfast event in San Francisco with the support from our longtime sponsors, Silicon Valley Bank and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Our topic for this event was industrial biotech. More specifically, we sought to explore how a changing set of tools available to biotech innovators is impacting technology development, and how industries and investors might react to optimize that. We had a diverse panel of conversation starters who each brought a... Read More »

Mobikes, Mo’ Problems – How are cities dealing with the bikesharing gold rush?


Josh Gilbert
There’s now more than 8 million bicycles in Beijing, that’s a fact! Over the last 12 months, bikesharing companies have raised over $6 billion dollars in equity financing, with an array of startups rapidly deploying this capital by rolling out services globally. Much of this capital has gone to a select few Chinese companies – Ofo and Mobike – which have quickly moved beyond China into markets in Europe, Singapore and the US. [caption id="attachment_17496" align="aligncenter" width="751"] Bike sharing investment... Read More »

Gene editing in agriculture & food: Accelerating the second green revolution


Chris Sworder
Why are we talking about this? Pressure on global resources to support our food system is growing, and even outpacing ability to meet demand. Genetic engineering is a useful tool to maximize yield in an increasingly resource-stressed world. “CRISPR-Cas9 is a step change for agritech, it allows plant breeders to implement the vast wealth of knowledge accumulated in the last hundred years into a wider range of crop plants. It has and will continue to accelerate crop science research into... Read More »

Cognitive Dissonance Must not Derail Good Investment Strategies


Troy Ault
Adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015 brought a wave of euphoria, a sense that we'd beaten the bureaucratic odds and actually gotten something done. Then came some sobering math. The stark realization of what needs to be done has been a galvanizing force that's returned investment to new technologies focused on re-balancing our carbon budget. In 2017, we acknowledged the increased focus specifically in carbon-to-value technologies that put captured carbon to work as a feedstock rather than... Read More »

The New Carbon Economy: Doing Well by Doing Good


Julio Friedmann
This guest blog by Julio Friedmann, CEO of Carbon Wrangler LLC, was previously posted on his LinkedIn and Medium (February 1, 2018).  My second favorite thing to do is drink coffee. Dedicated aficionados are familiar with a curious fact of coffee roasting: the beans off-gas twice their volume in CO2. This process takes a few days, depending on origin and degree of roasting. That’s why one doesn’t grind and drink beans immediately after roasting – to let CO2 exit the bean and... Read More »

Changing the Corporate + Startup Collaboration Paradigm


Troy Ault
On Wednesday, January 31, I had the privilege of participating alongside several representatives of corporate innovation or venturing teams, entrepreneurs, and early-stage investors in a symposium exploring feasibility of an industry standard, simplified partnership agreement (SiPA) between corporates and startups. Kudos, first, to the Activation Energy team (Matt, Nikhil, Jeanne, etc.) for their vision in organizing the gathering, and for securing grant funding for the initiative from the Department of Energy’s Innovation Pathways program. Importantly, such a meeting could not... Read More »

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


Chris Sworder
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... 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 »