Duncan Stewart: Venture capital still hot on clean technology
- February 27, 2008 8:08 AM |
- By Michael Hlinka
Money Talks is a collection of daily columns from The Business Network, which airs weekday mornings on CBC Radio One at 5:45 a.m. ET (6:15 a.m. ET in N.L.).
By Duncan Stewart, director at Deloitte Canada Research in Toronto
(Listen to the original audio)
As we come to the end of February, I have a couple of observations about this whole clean tech investing thing. First of all: boy, it's still hot. I just finished a cross-Canada, as a matter fact, cross-Atlantic road trip talking about various predictions that Deloitte is making.
And over and over in various Canadian cities, as well as in Israel, the feedback I've been getting is that this clean
tech space is like nothing we have seen before or for probably the last five or six years.
Venture capitalists are wildly excited about this space. Let me give you one anecdote. I was in Tel Aviv talking to maybe 120 people about the future of technology and I got about 15 business cards and of those 15 cards every single one was from a clean tech venture capitalist based in Israel eager to establish relationships with Canadian clean tech companies.
I guess the second theme I wanted to talk about was was there has been a bit of a divergence between global clean tech and Canadian clean tech and it's a happy divergence. Since November 2007, I've kind of been following a basket of Canadian clean tech companies versus their American counterparts.
I've talked about some of these before. They are new names like 5 n plus out of Montreal, or long-time Canadian clean tech company ATS Automation. Led by names like those up more than 70 per cent in the last few months, the Canadian clean tech basket that I've been tracking is actually up about 6 per cent in the last three months.
The fascinating part is that even with rising energy prices, the U.S. clean tech index is actually down four per cent. I think this is probably due to the Canadian companies supplying the solar industries. Solar continues to be very hot here as some of the other aspects of clean technology - some of the metering, some of the water companies - are not doing quite as well.
But I find it fascinating that the Canadian clean tech index is outperforming its U.S. peers by about 10 per cent in three months. That is an unusual thing and I think we have to worry, especially in the environmental space, if this is sustainable.
So we'll continue to keep an eye on this sector over the coming months but for the time being, Canadian clean tech names are handily ahead of everybody else on the globe.
-- For the Business Network, I'm Duncan Stewart in Toronto
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