To halt climate change, the world desperately needs advances in clean energy. But in recent years, Silicon Valley, the nation’s engine for technical innovation, has turned its back on investments in the field.
Now, even as the world grows hotter, young scientists with fresh ideas about energy technology are finding it increasingly difficult to find venture capital to get them off the ground.
“The V.C. model isn’t working,” said Horst Simon, the deputy director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
But scientists at the lab may have found a better way to support entrepreneurial scientists who once depended on venture capital.
Clean energy investments were briefly a fad among Silicon Valley venture capital firms, peaking in the second quarter of 2010 at more than $820 million. But V.C.s soon learned that investing in unproven “hard” energy technologies was not as quickly lucrative as backing social networking and smartphone apps. By the third quarter of last year, venture investment in industrial energy technologies had declined to $209 million.
Many clean energy technologies require prolonged support to grow, Curt Carlson, a physicist and former president of SRI International, said, adding: “V.C.s hate that. They want to put in a slug of money and then have it scale itself, without having to put in a billion dollars.”
Solyndra, a promising maker of solar panels, was a spectacular failure, driven into bankruptcy in 2013 by Chinese competition after obtaining $536 million in Department of Energy loan guarantees. But it was hardly the only flameout: The valley’s venture capitalists backed a disappointing array of energy start-ups, including battery makers A123 and Ener1, Fisker Automotive, and Abound Solar, a maker of thin-film solar panels.
As interest cooled among V.C.s, energy entrepreneurs struggled to find support for ambitious ideas. Ilan Gur, a materials scientist at Lawrence Berkeley and veteran of several clean energy start-ups, observed the experience of two Stanford physics graduate students with a new idea for more efficient solar technology.
“They got laughed out of every V.C. on Sand Hill Road,” he said. “People told them: ‘Are you crazy? An early-stage materials investment in solar?’ ”
Read more: An Incubator for Innovation
The Latest on: Innovation incubator
via Google News
The Latest on: Innovation incubator
- Audi of America awards fourth Audi Drive Progress Grant supporting STEM education at Forbes Idea Incubatoron March 8, 2021 at 11:07 am
Audi of America partnered with Forbes and the New York University's Tandon School of Engineering to host the fourth Forbes Idea Incubator, a one-day virtual event designed to support science, ...
- TAMS to Launch Startup Incubator Programon March 7, 2021 at 9:00 pm
The Travel and Meetings Society is preparing to launch a free global incubator program for early- to mid-stage travel startups to help entrepreneurs further their business models and ready them for ...
- 'A very nurturing environment': UConn aims to fuel economic growth with Stamford startup incubatoron March 7, 2021 at 12:33 am
During the past few years, the University of Connecticut’s Stamford campus has grown at a striking rate — as seen in its rising enrollment, residence hall openings and expanding list of academic ...
- Pasco County ready to handle entrepreneurial uptick in interest with Wesley Chapel incubatoron March 5, 2021 at 3:00 am
While the area has been on an upswing in recent years, for many, Pasco County still does not conjure up images of a booming startup scene. But with the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic, which put many ...
- Children's National Hospital, Johnson & Johnson, Virginia Tech launch health innovation campuson March 3, 2021 at 2:46 pm
Washington, D.C.-based Children's National Hospital, Virginia Tech and Johnson & Johnson Innovation have partnered to launch a new healthcare technology and research innovation campus, according to a ...
- SoGood project south of downtown Dallas to include innovation centeron March 2, 2021 at 7:40 pm
Real estate firms plotting a major redevelopment just south of downtown Dallas plan to construct an innovation center, more residences and eateries in ...
- Nation’s first research, innovation campus focused on children’s health launches in DCon March 1, 2021 at 7:45 am
The old Walter Reed Army Medical Center location in northwest D.C. is beginning a new chapter of caring for the community — and this time the focus is on children.
- Future of 5G Is Under the Microscope at Georgia Incubatoron February 26, 2021 at 2:44 pm
The Curiosity Lab in Peachtree Corners, Ga., is looking at the future of connectivity through its new 5G incubator — a partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology, the city and ...
- AgLaunch scores grant from Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator; aims to build more Black-owned ag companieson February 25, 2021 at 8:36 am
AgLaunch will continue its 48-Hour Launch program, which encourages underrepresented high school students to develop skills focused on solving problems in food and agriculture. It will also start an ...
- Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator announces partner awards to support diversity in cleantech ecosystemon February 24, 2021 at 2:09 pm
The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator, a 50-million-U.S.-dollar collaboration between the Wells Fargo Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, on Wednesday ...
via Bing News