Interesting meme racing around the tech blogosphere on this cybermonday: that one of the most respected venture firms, Kleiner Perkins, is switching gears from cleantech to the new social mobile web or whatever it should be called. John still expects some billion-dollar cleantech IPOs next year, but he has been talking up the new sFund and it has sparked speculation about where he sees the next big thing.
CleanTech had a bit of a bubble, and is off the peak, both in values of many deals and in pace of investing. Certainly some deals have done well, in particular Tesla (TSLA), which in recent days has traded up above the levels of the initial pop after IPO. (Note: I have a small indirect interest in Tesla.) Yet there has not been a green IPO that spawned a rush to the category. It has not had its Netscape Moment. As GreenBeat summarizes:
Basically, cleantech needs a facebook
The social mobile web has its Facebook, and its Twitter, Zynga, LinkedIn, Groupon, etc. While many are awaiting for a series of social mobile web IPOs in the next two years, the market has already treated Facebook private shares like IPO candy. SecondMarket reports that Facebook shares are now trading at $50B market value. This makes it worth more than Yahoo (YHOO) or eBay (EBAY), closing in on Amazon (AMZN) ($80B), and within 1/4th of Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOG).
John may be a bit wistful, having so strongly promoted the sFund he has cast a shadow on his cleantech investing. We can see where this is going with a recent funding round of his firm and Accel partners (who just made a killing selling Facebook shares) into an energy efficiency deal, OPower, a deal that crosses over between the Internet and cleantech.