"Cleantech" is a portmanteau describing innovatively efficient and/or environmentally friendly technology. Cleantech research and consultancy firm Kachan & Co. have peered into their solar-powered crystal ball to reveal five trends in the industry for 2014, along with some bonus predictions about electric cars and even mining tech.
1. Cleantech Will Still Be Called Cleantech
There is apparently debate within the industry over what to call themselves. Based on Google search data, Kachan & Co. asserts that the term "cleantech" will remain the moniker of choice for the industry going forward.
2. Cleantech is Poised for a Recovery
A predictable pattern emerges with any hot new technology, where investor interest runs hot during the honeymoon phase, plummets once reality sets in, and levels off to a more stable degree thereafter. We saw it with HTML5, we're seeing it now with Bitcoin, and Kachan & Co. recognizes the same pattern in cleantech. "After 20 years in technology, the more we looked at the data, the more we realized we'd seen this movie before," said Kachan Managing Partner Dallas Kachan. "After an initial frothiness and correction, there’s always a resetting of expectations and execution and a gradual 'climb out' of the trough. And climbing out of the trough is where we are today in cleantech."
3. Crowdfunding May Play a Role
The company predicts that some companies may see success raising modest amounts of capital through equity and debt-based crowdfunding platforms like AngelList, FundersClub, Mosaic or SunFunder. Kachan advises that marketing will be a key to crowdfunding success. "Don't count on a web site to spread the word about your offering. Be in a position to market your offering yourself." Canada is slowly but surely waking up to the importance of equity crowdfunding.
4. Electric Car Sales Running Out of Juice
Due in part to fuel efficiency innovations in internal combustion engines, Kachan expects a further slowdown in sales of electric vehicles, the sales of which are already lagging analysts' predictions. The company also cites an uptick in fuel cell vehicle announcements from traditional car manufacturers.
5. Recycling Trumps Traditional Mining for Rare Earths
The report is optimistic about technological innovations that render rare earths unnecessary in manufacturing processes. It's just another non-tech sector being wildly disrupted by innovative new technology.
The complete Kachan & Co. report can be read here.