On Creating Deeptech Confluences: mobilizing private capital into ventures…

This post builds off post 1, post 2, and post 3 and is the final part of this Deeptech Confluence series. Here we look at the peripheral yet pivotal players of the Confluence that have not been mentioned so far: the Confluence Champions. These groups and individuals are essential in bridging together entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers into a cohesive ecosystem.

The previous posts have highlighted various best practices for each Confluence stakeholder to push forward technologies from lab to market; this post however simply highlights what Champions do and look like in order to encourage others to do the same. In particular, we focus on how Champions network and shape the story of their Confluences.

On Creating Deeptech Confluences: mobilizing private capital into ventures…

This post builds off post 2 where we discussed the deeptech investor’s role in specialization and syndication. This third post covers the deeptech polcymaker’s role in prioritizing government support to proliferate skilled-labor and private capital investment in deeptech. Outlined are three strategies used by policymakers in premier Deeptech Confluences.

These strategies apply to policymakers in city, state / provincial, and national governments. These practices should also be seen as a guiding post for entrepreneurs looking to build their next venture, and for investors looking for prime areas for deeptech investment.  

On Creating Deeptech Confluences: mobilizing private capital into ventures…

This post builds off post 1 where we discussed the deeptech entrepreneur’s role in de-risking team and technology. This second post covers the deeptech investor’s role in successfully financing breakthrough science ventures. Outlined are two strategies commonly used among successful deeptech investors. The strategies are complementary and supplementary to current strategies for investing in capital-intensive startups (e.g. milestone-based financing and term sheet streamlining).

These strategies apply to investors in VC firms, corporate VC firms, family offices, and individual investors. They are especially meant for emerging managers who aspire to invest in deeptech. Finally, these practices should also be seen as a guiding post for entrepreneurs seeking funding from top-tier deeptech investors.

On Creating Deeptech Confluences: mobilizing private capital into ventures…

Technology has always been a means to an end. A solution to a problem. Since ancient times engineers have used scientific knowledge to create useful technologies in construction, agriculture, transport and many sectors we know today. From concrete to batteries, these technologies have enabled us to become almost superhuman compared to past standards.

However in today’s information age, the word ‘technology’ has been largely used to describe a very specific kind of solution: namely ‘consumer’ and ‘enterprise’ software. These solutions have been solving various inefficiencies, including: inefficient business processes, inefficient marketplaces, inefficient(?) social interactions, inefficient transport, and inefficient entertainment for example. There is no doubt these solution have created enormous market value. But have they advanced humanity?

In this series I highlight ways we can redirect private capital into what Swati Chaturvedi, CEO of Propel(x) calls “deep” technologies (deeptech for short). These are breakthrough technologies in materials science, energy, and life sciences that have the potential to tackle our most “wicked” societal problems. By engaging 1) entrepreneurs, 2) investors, and 3) policymakers, we can mobilize private (and public) capital into ventures that advance humanity.

These self-reinforcing regional systems are what I call “Deeptech Confluences”. They engage our most powerful societal force of all — our global capitalist engine — to funnel ‘rivers’ of capital into solutions combating our most wicked problems. Each section highlights the role of each stakeholder in the Deeptech Confluence. I begin with the role of entrepreneurs in part 1.

Why renewable energy matters: for your health, your job,…

Regardless of the scientific evidence for human caused climate change or global warming, the terms have deafened the ears of many. Our overly narrow political, economic, and social focus on their overly global concepts have made people skeptical, and rightly so. Going forward we will need to change that in order to solve the most pressing problems of our time.

If we really want to move the needle on sustainability, we need to paint crystal clear messages that are grounded in nearby reality, and shift our focus to the tangible problems of fossil fuels and the visible boons of renewable energy technologies.

Renewable energy matters in real ways beyond just trying to improve various line graphs and bar charts. We need to give them just as much or even more attention.

eMotorWerks — Smart EV chargers for vehicle-grid integration

I don’t often call companies beautiful but I think eMotorWerks is at that level. The 2010 startup is the most promising cleantech company I’ve seen in the EV charging space. Between the team, the technology, the timing, and the TAM they are creating something quite special and valuable. Located in Bay Area California, here is why they are an early stage (pre-series A) cleantech company to bet on.

Geli — Software making energy storage a reality

Over $2.8 billion of VC dollars has poured into energy storage systems (ESS) over the past six and half years. Yet only in 2015 did the industry finally ramp up into an exponential growth trend. Why? Besides technological improvement and growing economies of scale, the major linchpin responsible in unlocking the full value of ESS has only just begun to develop. Growth Energy Labs Inc. (Geli) is one San Francisco based early-stage startup (post-Series A) that has built the key software enabling the new ESS renaissance. Here is why they are a cleantech company to bet on.

Sistine Solar — A new breed of solar panels

Differentiation is essential to compete in cleantech. Companies like Tesla, SheerWind, and Sonnen are all excelling because of their ability to compete on factors other than cost while exceed in performance. Now, Boston and New York based early-stage startup Sistine Solar (pre-Series A) is taking design-oriented thinking to the solar industry with a radical and colorful new take on solar PV panels. Here is why they are a cleantech to bet on.