Yes, cleantech VC loves IT plays

My colleague Katie Fehrenbacher’s list of 13 energy startups to watch in 2013 is worth a read. The 2012 cleantech venture capital investing figures came out last week and they were disappointing, as was to be expected. The sector was down almost 33 percent compared to 2011.

Why am I mentioning energy startups and cleantech VC? Because many of the startups profiled in the post, like Bidgely which mines smart meter data and EcoFactor which provides a software layer for connected thermostats, aren’t capital intensive. They’re software plays that are fundamentally energy efficiency plays. They rest upon decades of software development to create value for utilities and consumers.

And as VCs run from capital intensive renewable energy projects, we’ll see a focus on this type of startup investing, sometimes referred to as “digital green” or “cleanweb.” Silicon Valley loves financing software companies that can get traction in 3-5 years and start generating revenue. It’ll be interesting to see if this translates into the financing of some more early stage startups.