RoseRyan recently completed the second annual State of Cleantech Survey with our partners KPMG, Barney & Barney and Arbor Advisors. In general, the findings are very consistent with what we are hearing from clients. Cleantech ventures are still being funded but investors are keeping a cautious eye out due to macroeconomic issues. Although there have been some high-profile flops (Solyndra) there have also been many successes (Tesla). The Valley continues to produce high-profile cleantech success stories, and I anticipate there will be some big wins in the coming year.

Some of our key findings include:

  • The overall outlook for venture funding is optimistic, with 67 percent of survey respondents saying they are extremely, very, or somewhat optimistic.
  • The outlook for cleantech growth in Northern California is strong, with fully 50 percent saying they are extremely/very optimistic.
  • The two biggest trends are an increase in M&A and the expansion of large multinationals into cleantech.
  • The greatest challenge is gaining access to capital.
  • Regarding personnel, cleantech demand is highest for engineering support.

All of my clients are highly optimistic about the future of cleantech. Most believe that if they had greater access to capital at attractive terms they would be able to expand their business rapidly. Some sectors, including solar and lighting, are growing rapidly and are being impacted by the advent of strong Chinese competitors, while others, including energy efficiency and storage, are growing at a steadier pace. Big multinationals are biding their time trying to predict who the winners and losers are going to be.

I fully expect the pace of innovation to continue as the federal stimulus–funded clients approach their second and third years post-funding. The cleantech market is showing some signs of maturity and funding infrastructures are improving. Although the frothiness of the past may be mellowing, the overall market is growing at a nice, sustainable pace.

In the coming year expect some big news in biofuels and electric vehicles spaces…it should be interesting to watch!

You can download a PDF of the 2011 Cleantech Survey report or read the news release.