Webinar Highlights: Investing in Cleantech Is a Sustainable Business

In the last (but not least) webinar of the 2019 Navigate Webinar Series, we brought together Congruent Ventures, Energy Impact Partners, NYSERDA, and Enertiv to discuss how the cleantech stage is changing, a dialogue tailored to cleantech entrepreneurs.

Couldn’t make it to the webinar? Read on for a detailed recap and watch the recording!

With the goal of educating and giving perspective on an increasingly nuanced yet thriving industry, our expert panelists explained their organizations’ funding strategy and ventured to answer some key questions, such as:

  • What is causing more capital to come back into cleantech recently?
  • What gaps exist in the ecosystem and how can we fill them?
  • When is the right time for an entrepreneur to reach out to an investor?

History of cleantech funding: Connell McGill, of Enertiv, began by explaining the cleantech rupture in 2008, while also offering some hope. “There is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Connell, as he explained that as time progressed and demographics and culture shifted, climate change pushed its way to become a mainstream issue - causing capital to return to cleantech. Because venture funds are put together with a 10-12 year time span and it is increasingly cheaper to build a company, the scar tissue in the institutional world is beginning to heal from 2008.

Early-stage funding: Michael Shimazu, a Senior Advisor for NYSERDA’s Innovation team, continued the discussion explaining his New York State agency’s pre-series B project-based funding, which raised over one billion dollars in private capital over the last ten years, and their new co-investment program. Abe Yokell, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Congruent Ventures, an early-stage venture fund who is the first institutional investment in 84% of their companies, added that early investing is very underutilized in the current cleantech space.

Growth-stage funding: Madison Freeman, of Energy Impact Partners (EIP), provided a different view of the cleantech ecosystem. EIP, a growth-stage venture capital fund, derives 80% of its funding from a global utility coalition they built. Madison explained EIP’s utility-based structure, a successful partnership developed from a lack of understanding and engagement between utilities and innovators, as well as their funding process.

To learn more about this webinar check out our YouTube recording!

And don't forget our 2020 Navigate Webinar Series is starting this March! Click here add your email to receive updates about our upcoming series.

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Delilah Fairclough-Stewart

Delilah is NECEC's Navigate Intern.