Cleantech pitchfest – 6/1/2016

Attended this event . A few years ago Cleantech was awash in venture capital and government funding. Ideas were being funded based on napkin scribbles. Things dried up up fast when it became hard to make a buck while satiating one’s idealism.

Today, it’s even harder to raise money if one wants to do the right things for the planet. Cleantech entrepreneurship is really hard tech and unlike SaaS, it’s an extremely expensive career path fraught with risk. I pivoted a long time ago realizing that the market was not ready for my idea. Yet, the rewards will come for those with enough patience.

Hard science deserves as much support as computer science. The program was inspiring, but what was missing among these brilliant scientists was the kind of will-to-power business acumen that we take for granted in the SaaS world. The financials weren’t discussed much in the contest. A trillion dollar market awaits these ideas, yet the financials were skimmed over in the form of Al Gore-style storytelling. Unfortunately, some of the ideas in this government-funded program will take years, if not decades to realize. And they shouldn’t take that long with smart investors and the right bootstrap advisors (Shark Tank-style).