Silicon Valley got a black eye a decade ago when its big venture capital foray into expensive and nascent cleantech didn’t pan out—but its recently renewed interest in a wider scope of technologies that can tackle the climate crisis could be different this time around.
Why it matters: Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time, and the tech industry’s innovation could be a powerful tool to stem it.
Flashback: Several years after the Dotcom bust, a number of prominent venture capital firms like Kleiner Perkins, DFJ, and Khosla Ventures bet big on clean tech as the next big thing.
- Venture capital jumped from about $300 million a year in cleantech investments between 1996 and 2005, to $1.7 billion in 2006, and peaked at $4.3 billion in 2011, according to the NVCA.
- And while some investors did well and backed successful companies, the spectacular crumblings of companies like Solyndra and Fisker kept a lot of VCs and limited partners away for many years.
Fast forward: The climate crisis has sparked an interest from Silicon Valley and venture capitalists, with influential investors like startup accelerator Y Combinator, Union Square Ventures, and Sequoia Capital getting more serious about investing in potential solutions.
This time around, investors tell Axios that there are some fundamental differences
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