Cleantech survey reveals optimism tempered by challenges
(Newark, Calif., Sept. 20, 2011) — Northern California’s cleantech sector as of July remained optimistic yet realistic about the field, according to the second annual RoseRyan pulse survey aimed at assessing the industry’s collective view.
“As compared to last year, two challenges moved up the list on people’s minds: the pressure for executives to meet aggressive growth goals and the ability to scale for those in administrative areas. Fundraising, of course, is a critical issue, as it was last year,” comments Chris Vane, RoseRyan’s business development and cleantech specialist. “As of July, when the survey was conducted, the field, overall, was optimistic about funding and growth.”
The RoseRyan 2011 State of Cleantech Survey covered many of the same topics as last year, including hot growth categories, challenges and risks facing the industry, predicted IPO and M&A activity, government incentives and VC funding. Some of the top findings include:
- Continued optimism. Though down from last year, 67 percent of survey respondents said they are somewhat, very, or extremely optimistic about the outlook for venture funding for the cleantech sector this year. Energy efficiency and lighting are the fields with the largest anticipated growth for the coming year.
- Strong expectations for growth in Northern California. Fully 50 percent of respondents state they are extremely or very optimistic about growth, and another 42 percent are somewhat optimistic.
- Gaining access to capital remains critical. Seven in 10 respondents ranked this issue as their single greatest challenge. The second greatest challenge is distributing products and services.
- Ongoing fears remain. The top three top risks to the cleantech sector are the potential discontinuation of government programs, the weak economy and the perception that customer bases are not expanding quickly enough. Cleantech leaders believe that government incentives are needed to fuel growth and make the sector globally competitive, especially against China. Survey respondents worry that the U.S. government is not committed enough, particularly with regard to long-term and ongoing projects.
- Overall trends. Respondents identified that venture capitalists are looking for safer ideas from midsize to large companies and seeking ideas with shorter horizons for revenue and profitability. Survey respondents anticipated that the two biggest future trends for cleantech are an increase in M&A activity and that large multinationals will expand into the sector.
About the survey
RoseRyan conducted this second annual cleantech survey in July 2011 in conjunction with KPMG, Arbor Advisors and Barney & Barney LLC. The first survey was conducted in May 2010. The pulse survey was designed to take the current temperature of cleantech in Northern California, assessing the industry’s optimism, growth potential and challenges and risks for the coming year. The survey was implemented by an independent market research firm and hosted by Survey Monkey, and the results are best viewed as directional in nature. Respondents were predominantly high-level leaders from the renewable energy and service provider sectors. Transportation and energy efficiency sectors were also well represented.
Download a PDF of the full survey results.
RoseRyan is a finance and accounting consulting firm based in Silicon Valley that tackles critical assignments for companies at all stages, with particular expertise in high tech, life sciences and cleantech industries. The firm’s finance gurus serve as outsourced CFOs, prepare companies for IPOs and M&As, perform immaculate corporate governance work and are sought after for expert advice on emerging accounting challenges. Its roots in the region go deep—RoseRyan has been getting high-flying companies’ financial houses in order since 1993—and clients benefit from a strong network of partners who can help their businesses grow. Recent and current clients include Actelion, CalCEF, Netflix, NVIDIA, KidZania and Philips Lumileds.