I was looking at something related to energy in the V.C. space today, and someone asked me, “What is your interest in energy?”
My answer was as follows:
One primary interest is the next generation of fuels and technologies to power our every day needs. As climate change and environmental issues come to the forefront it is going to be very lucrative for companies to begin advancing what are now fringe energy sources and making them more efficient. My personal belief is that startups will provide the greatest way for innovators to monetize their insights and large energy companies are more focused on stretching their current energy generation methods, rather than pioneering new ones.
Now, naturally, your first thought might be of some sort of gagging noise. Fair enough. But the insight that I had during this stream of consciousness moment was that perhaps this is why disruptive technologies come from unexpected places. If I’m a large energy company, like Exxon, why would I ever want to find, let alone release, a new method of extracting energy from oil that’s 10x more efficient or a new way of turning other fuel sources into viable alternatives for automobiles? I wouldn’t. Also, startups produce these things because people who discover these innovations don’t want to pass them up a corporate food chain and hope they get a 10% bump in their bonus or salary, they want to be at the forefront of making the hundreds of millions of dollars from these discoveries. Entrepreneurial spirit indeed…