Could it be that finally investors are starting to see green in green? With oil prices soaring, Al Gore out on the stump through a new documentary on environment issues, Senator Hillary Clinton calling for a "Strategic Energy Fund" to jumpstart research and investment in clean energy technologies, and global warming bearing down on us via hurricanes and heat waves, maybe Wall Street will start to see an opportunity to profit from much needed enviornmentally friendly technological advances.
But before the IPOs venture capitalists have to channel money to entrepreneurs who see the world through green-colored glasses. The area which seems "hottest" at the moment is energy-any technologies which can be described as "sustainable", "renewable" or "clean.”
Recognizing an opportunity, several years ago a group of investors formed Cleantech Venture Network. The Network provides a forum where eco-friendly start-ups can get their business plans in front of the firm´s investors, whether it be through one of their three annual forums or by submitting the plan on the Network´s web site. The Network is holding a forum in London in June and New York City in September.
One company which is making a splash in the sustainable energy industry is Virginia-based Verdant Power. The company has designed free-flow turbines which can be placed at the bottom of a river beds to take advantage of the energy being spun out of river currents. This summer the company will submerge six of its turbines in Manhattan´s East River. Working like underwater windmills, the turbines will draw energy from tidal current to power a nearby supermarket and parking garage.
Verdant received some of its capital from Investors´ Circle. With offices in San Francisco and Brookline, Mass., the firm funds entrepreneurs focused on sustainable biodiversity, whether it be clean energies, organic agriculture or sustainable forestry. Additionally, it has an emphasis on funding minority or women-owed companies.
Another interesting company which has received funding from the Investors´ Circle is Brooklyn-based IceStone, which manufactures durable surface material like countertops or commercial flooring from recycled glass and cement.
Investors Circle also serves as a fund of funds for firms which focus on sustainability investing, such as Expansion Capital Partners, based in San Francisco and New York, and SJF Ventures of Durham and Philadelphia.
Aside from the funds listed above, entrepreneurs can turn to the following resources for more information on raising capital in the new green world: