SFCED | San Francisco Center for Economic Development


Cleantech Investment Past its Boom

Investment in the cleantech industry has seen major growth in the San Francisco Bay Area over the last decade, jumping from less than half a billion in venture capital dollars to $3 billion, according to figures from the State of the Valley conference in February. Yet, a closer look at local cleantech investment trends reveals that investment peaked in 2008 and has been declining since then.

Peninsula Press tracked the number of cleantech startups in the San Francisco Bay Area listed on the startup-insider website CrunchBase. The site, originally an extension of TechCrunch, catalogs startup companies across the globe, tracking their activity, funding rounds and funding dollars.

CrunchBase compiles its dataset using a combination of sources: crowdsourced information from 90,000 online contributors, portfolio data from venture capitalist partnerships and web crawls of investment regulatory filings, social media and news sources, according to CrunchBase analyst Mark Lennon.

“We tend to be pretty comprehensive,” Lennon said. “We don’t miss a whole lot.”

When it comes to CrunchBase’s tracking of the San Francisco Bay Area cleantech market, there were 143 active local cleantech startups receiving some form of external funding on the site as of January, from small companies with fewer than 10 employees to giants like Tesla Motors and SolarCity.

Yet, more than half of these startups — 73 companies — were founded between 2005 and 2009. Far fewer startup cleantech companies cropped up subsequently — just 16, according to Peninsula Press analysis.

Read more: SFGate (blog) Cleantech investment past its boom

Cleantech investment past its boom