Cleantech Top 25: the sausage-making behind the list

Creating the list of 2010 cleantech leaders was difficult due to the incredible diversity of industries within cleantech and the compelling stories that are developing. Although businesses in the sector— and certainly venture capitalists—are looking for the “Google of cleantech,” it’s more likely that we’ll see a broad range of companies achieve success at a more moderate rate.

In every instance when I asked industry participants who their top three people in cleantech were, they thought deeply, nodded, scratched their throat, deliberated some more, and eventually settled on three. Five minutes later they started to unveil a much longer list due to the incredible reach that cleantech has gained in the marketplace.

One big addition to the 2010 list is the inclusion of researchers at some key universities and laboratories. These institutions are unsung heroes who have a major impact on the policies, products and future of cleantech. They are quite accessible and willing to lend their expertise. Representatives of government, on the other hand, are fewer this year, since many of their policies are already in place and breeding success—good job, guys!

While I had a lot to sort through in identifying people who were most influential in 2010, one of the most difficult tasks was picking the people to watch in 2011. This list is gleaned from hundreds of potential candidates. Like last year’s list, it includes an eclectic mix of individuals who could certainly appear on the Top 25 list in future years.

I will be attending many cleantech events this year and hope to meet many of the movers and shakers. If I see you, make sure you’re ready for me to ask, “Who do you think the top three people in cleantech are?”

If you have any comments, submissions for future consideration or anything else that you would like to share, please let me know.