DAVOS, Switzerland Jan 31 Silicon Valley
venture capital firm VantagePoint Venture Partners will invest
more than $1 billion in green startups over the next 24 to 30
months, Managing Partner Alan Salzman said on Saturday.
"We are aggressively and actively investing," Salzman told
Reuters at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in
Davos, Switzerland. "We'll probably back 10 to 15 companies over
the course of 2009."
VantagePoint, one of the biggest backers of early stage
"cleantech" companies, has invested in an array of startups
including electric vehicle infrastructure company Better Place,
solar thermal energy company BrightSource Energy and electric
car maker Tesla Motors.
For now, the firm is "well funded," Salzman said, in spite
of a global economic downturn that led to a 71 percent drop in
venture capital fund raising in the fourth quarter of 2008.
"I can't plead poverty at this point," Salzman said.
He pointed out, however, that the capital requirements of
green energy companies are very large compared to the technology
and healthcare businesses that venture capitalists have
traditionally helped get off the ground.
"There is probably less than $10 billion available in the
venture capital industry over the next 24 months for cleantech
projects," Salzman said, calling it "woefully underrepresented"
relative to the burgeoning industry's potential for growth.
"If you are going elephant hunting, you need an elephant
gun. You don't go off with a .22 under your arm," Salzman said.
"You have to look at the capital needs relative to the scale of
the projects you are taking on."
For full coverage, blogs and TV from Davos go to
(Reporting by Nichola Groom; editing by Simon Jessop)