Early Investment Stage
In 1995, less than 1.5% of the $11.4 billion VC deals went to cleantech companies (78 deals, $168 million). Media attention, by comparison, is slightly higher at 2.7% discourse on cleantech related issues. By 1998, the VC market grew to $36.5 billion (7317 deals), however, the share of cleantech investments fell to .7%, or $269 million invested in 163 deals, and media attention dropped to 2.4%. Recycling is the dominant category in the media in this phase. It is one of the categories usually connected with environmentalism. The amount of articles within the relevant cleantech frame mentioning this theme fluctuates between 20 and 30%. Other themes mentioned more often are water, between 9 and 17%, ecology, with 14 and 16% in 1995 and 1996 followed by a drop to never surpass 9% again and solar, varying between 9 and 16%.
In this stage, recycling is the dominant category in the media. It is one of the categories commonly connected with environmentalism. The volume of articles relevant mentioning this theme fluctuates between 20 and 30%. Other themes mentioned more often are water, between 9 and 17%, ecology, with 14 and 16% in
1995 and 1996 followed by a drop to never surpass 9% again and solar, varying between 9 and 16%. These themes reflect VC investments in cleantech companies that are responding to climate change. The late 1980s and early 1990s introduced a growing fear of environmental pollution and recognition of the finiteness of natural resources, and heightened consciousness concerning the use of resources and sustainable consumption. The growing importance of these topics, combined with the emergence of green parties lead to political initiatives for more sustainability. Several countries introduced different policies protecting the nature and supporting the environment. The topic of climate change lead to the decision to limit carbon emissions at the United Nations conference in Kyoto 1997. These social and political trends were supported through the investment into more research on sustainable technologies at universities and corporations. As a result, startups and SME started to recognize opportunities in the cleantech context as well, which fostered the continued investments in cleantech.