Research Report: Investing in Early Stage Renewable Startups


Initiate has proudly partnered with the Erasmus University’s Rotterdam School of Management and Energy Investment Management BV on an exciting comparison study that investigated the differences in screening criteria between three types of investors, and what could lie behind those differences.

Investing in Early Stage Renewable Startups: Comparing the Decision-Making Process of Venture Capitalists, Business Angels and Strategic Investors

There is a growing awareness of the negative impacts of climate change on the planet, so the need for a transition from fossil fuels to low-carbon options on a worldwide scale has never been more evident. Start-ups with innovative technologies in the field of renewable energy are part of the solution, as they have the potential to fundamentally drive this transition.

However, in the capital-intensive and relatively conservative energy sector, it is extremely challenging for new ventures to attract sufficient funding to even survive, far less go through the phases of development and growth. Early-stage private equity and venture capital investors have the potential to reduce this funding gap.

The investment decision-making and evaluation processes of investors have been part of academic debate for decades. Existing research, however, lacks insights into how different types of investors vary in how they assess the quality of a start-up and how these differences can be explained.

The new Investing in Early-Stage Renewable Energy Startups report aims to fill this knowledge gap by investigating the differences in screening criteria between three different types of investors in the renewable energy space, and the potential role of risk avoidance strategies of investors in explaining these differences.

The study was a collaboration between Erasmus University, Energy Investment Management and Initiate. Noortje van Heijst, the author of the report, conducted this research as an Investment Advisor at Energy Investment Management.

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