What is the “clean tech” business sector and why have I been hearing that term so much lately?
—Andrea Newell, Denver, CO
Cleantech is a loosely defined category of businesses dedicated to creating cutting edge technologies that address the world’s environmental problems. These high flying companies—most of which began small with the hope of ascending to publicly traded status—are the new darlings of Wall Street, attracting billions in venture capital and public funding in what many financial analysts are calling the next big thing since the burst of the dot-com bubble.
Venture capitalists poured more than $3 billion into the cleantech sector in 2007 alone. Whether this cleantech boom will lead the rest of the economy down the green path for the long term—or go bust in a couple of years like its dot-com predecessor—remains to be seen.
In the thick of the movement is Cleantech Network LLC, a research firm and clearinghouse for cleantech companies and investors that also publishes the online information clearinghouse, Cleantech.com. The firm defines its budding industry as “new technology and related business models offering competitive returns for investors and customers while providing solutions to global challenges.”