Green Start Ups
By John Grant
A few years ago Red Herring interviewed a number of venture capitalists and analysts in order to make predictions for 2006. Their number one answer turned out to be ‘more investing in green products’. In the US the predictions have come true, with $2.9B invested in 2006 into cleantech i.e. alternative energy and energy efficiency. The figures in Europe are slightly less impressive at $700m, but this is still high growth in green investing from a low base (which one commentator from WWF in 2002 described as ‘bugger all’!)
The cleantech sector is expensive,...
...risky, based on competing, patentable technologies. i.e. it’s not exactly something that most people would invent in their living room! But there is a growing recognition that there are entrepreneurial opportunities large and small beyond these energy technology plays. And there is also funding emerging for little, innovative ideas. The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) for one has announced a fund of £50m over the next five years specifically targeting ethical and environmental fledgling ideas in the UK.
A green idea can crop up in almost any area. In the last few weeks the UK has seen the launch of a nationwide online virtual farmers market, a grocery shop where you take your own packaging to fill up at the shop, and re-usable business post envelopes. Like all good inventions it’s a matter of seeing a problem and finding an ingenious solution. But there are some promising areas where good ideas may cluster. For instance:
1. The green home. Who will lag the lofts, fit and integrate the solar panelling, advise people as carbon coaches and run courses on home farming? With 40% or so willing to pay more... continued on page two >