Clean Tech Draws VC Funding

Brad Zengar of Pivotal Investments stopped by the office to talk about what his company does in the realm of emerging energy-efficiency technologies. As noted in an earlier post, Pivotal is a Pacific Northwest venture capital firm interested in small businesses here that show promise as innovators.

According to Zengar, the region is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the  clean energy race because we've already built a significant foundation of achievement in energy efficiency.

"We've done a lot not because it's the cool thing to do, but because it's part of our ethos."

Carbon uncertainty, which is a huge factor right now, along with growing demand for electricity and fuel are creating attractive markets that meet the criteria for venture capitalists.

"Energy efficiency is becoming a very prominent area for venture-capitalist firms," says Zengar. "Investment in efficiency technologies surpassed solar start-up in 2009."

While U.S. VC investment in cleantech companies declined in 2009, energy efficiency investment rose.

According to a report by Ernst & Young, VC investment directed almost 6 million to energy efficiency projects for the year.

"Energy efficiency is the sweet spot of many venture capital investors in terms of skill sets and funding parameters, particularly given its basis in information technology. Consequently, we may see investor participation in cleantech broaden," says John de Young, Ernst & Young's associate director, Americas Cleantech Network.