Nothing Ventured: The Crisis in Clean Tech Investment
If a sector that helps drive American economic growth loses 26% of its value—$22 billion—and sees a 26% decline in new companies in just three years, would it be a crisis? It should be. Unfortunately, this decline is happening today to U.S. venture capital, the sector that financed the creation of such iconic American companies as Intel, FedEx, Apple and Google. The collapse has hit the emerging clean energy sector particularly hard, with investments spiraling down 44% in the last year alone. And it’s happening at a time when the U.S. is locked in an intense competition with China and Europe to win the $2.3 trillion global clean energy market. Yet almost no one in the nation’s capital is ringing alarm bells about venture’s demise. In this memo, we make the case that the crisis in clean tech investment is starving promising new technologies and risks the U.S. missing out on a huge engine for economic growth in the 21st century.