Greentech Media bids farewell, what does that have to do with AEF?

Some days ago I came across an interesting and sort of sad piece of news: Greentech Media (GTM), which I had been an avid follower of from the very beginning back in 2007(?), is closing doors. GTM was acquired a few years ago by Wood Mackenzie and now they had decided to discontinue GTM and continue to offer research services under McKenzie brand.

At first I was a bit sad hearing the news, as GTM was the place to go to see what was going in the US cleantech VC area. I had co-founded an energy investment advisory firm in the cleantech area back in December 2005, and it was only a year later that GTM opened its doors.

With its podcasts and news on the (American) VC market and energy industry latest developments, it was a great resource for an investor or tech firm in the cleantech area. As the US market is (or was) the first-mover market for many developments in the cleantech area, for an European observer, GTM was a great media to follow to see what was coming down the pipe. As the investment firm I co-founded back in December 2005 pivoted to early-stage cleantech venture investing in 2009, GTM became ever more important resource for industry news.

After reading a few farewell articles by GTM staff writers, I realised that this was probably just the right market timing for Wood Mackenzie to close down the GTM brand. The core purpose of GTM was to highlight new ventures and technologies in the cleantech / energy space and make it better known what potentially could be achieved with these new technologies. But the industry has matured and what was a niche market still a few years ago is quickly becoming mainstream or at least more well known. The focus is now less on touting the importance of new innovations and startups around them, and more about market deployment.

This is very similar development what lead me to found Action Energy Finance. For 13 years, starting out back then in December 2005, I was involved in early stage cleantech & energy VC investing. When I stepped down from that endeavour in 2018, I felt that it was time to move on. Investing into yet another new promising innovation suddenly didn’t feel like hitting the mark anymore. It was time to go and scale things up. The co-founder of GTM, Scott Clavenna, gave an interesting podcast interview a few years back. It sums up pretty well how the cleantech & energy industry has developed since those early years of roughly 15 years ago.

I decided to join an energy utility that was operating in various markets. Their goal was to utilise external innovations and combine those with their access to wide customer base and make it big. After a couple of years on the job I realised that carrying out this mission was very difficult with a traditional utility: changing a company culture into taking risks (=deploying new technologies that were proven but had still a limited amount of projects out there), and managing to do that with smaller scale distributed projects, was very, very challenging.

The experience with the utility lead into founding of Action Energy Finance. The same as it was for GTM, it is time to move on from cleantech & energy venture financing into scaling the solutions to widespread market deployment. This is also the mission of AEF: help our partners grow faster and help our customers to deploy cleaner energy and other resource solutions in an easier way.

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