Rushlight champions cleantech innovators
Royal Geographical Society, London, 20th June 2017
I spoke to one of the ambitious cleantech entrepreneurs during a break at the Rushlight Summer Showcase on Tuesday and he did a better job of summing this event up than I ever could. He said "The guys pitching for investment are all honest and outstanding technical engineers with real and working innovations that can make a big difference to the clean energy sector." The message here is clear – if you want true cleantech innovation then forgive the engineers for not being the best sales people. Instead, try and understand their technology and, as an investor, bring both funding and commercial capability to bear on what is a multi-billion dollar market.
Having started out in the cleantech sector in 2010 and having a reasonable knowledge of how technology has evolved over the years, I can safely say that almost every pitch deserves the investment they are seeking. These people are not seeking the dumb money offered by the crowd, they recognise their weaknesses and are seeking the smart money that comes through the harder path of securing investment funding from committed cleantech investors.
This was the inaugural Rushlight Summer Showcase held at the Royal Geographical Society that saw 40 cleantech entrepreneurs pitching to a packed audience keen to hear about the latest technologies. Energy Storage featured strongly as you would expect with multiple innovative using existing infrastructure, gravity and the tide to achieve sustainable solutions. New batteries that move away from lithium and charge in just 5 minutes, wind turbine blades based on Americas Cup nautical technology and integrated PV and Thermal panels that need 25% less space to achieve the same results – they have even solved the high operating temperatures. The newly appointed head of BEIS made her first public appearance to speak positively about the cleantech sector and the UK as a leading example of hitting ambitious carbon reduction targets.
Granted has partnered with both Rushlight and Cleantech Innovate in 2017 and seen almost 80 pitches from innovators in the sector in the last two months at the two shows. There is still a great atmosphere in cleanttech – supportive and genuine – based on the desire of most entrepreneurs and funders to make a difference. The Rushlight Awards are open for applications soon – look out for that and the next events.
Alex Chalkley, Director at Granted Consultancy Ltd