Incentives and cleantech

Incentives and cleantech

I don’t understand what happened since John Doerrs TED talk 11 years ago:

It looks like the entire cleantech startup community imploded a few years after his talk.

According to a 2016 MIT study the venture capital model just don’t work for cleantech.

Which is really weird since it looks like VC investments are up from 2B$ to 10B$ pr. year since around that time.

But I wonder what the VC community thinks has changed this time around? Isn’t the problem that cleantech is trying to solve the same since the market imploded in 2011?

Except it’s worse.

Technologies might also have matured.

Is that it? I guess urgency and technology are always good drivers.

To me the cleantech implosion of 2011 indicates a much deeper problem, which is that the incentive structure for solving the really important problems is just totally flawed and driven by the wrong values in our world.

Why is it that for instance the coal industry is not saying:

“Guys, this global warming thing: We know it’s our fault. In 2 years we’re going to stop all coal mining so the rest of you better figure out how to power peoples microwave ovens at that time”.

I think we would see a bit more action in terms of job replacement, bureaucracy annihilation, technology development, renewables and energy storage deployment etc than what we’re seeing now.

But of course the coal industry is not doing that. That would “destroy shareholder value”.

A shareholder

And if there’s one thing nobody wants it’s that! But burning the planet and killing 9.000.000 people yearly: YES PLEASE can I have some more of that…

Ahem.. Let’s get some perspective perhaps. (Btw here’s a brilliant podcast by “The Energy Transition show” about the coal industry.)

There’s probably less radical alternatives with an equal amount of impact than what I just suggested.

But I think those alternatives starts with this: What if all entrepreneurs, VCs and policy makers spent their time morning coffee today thinking about how to fix this incentive problem?

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