LONDON Technology development group TTP has issued a call to arms to European venture capital groups to invest in early stage green technology projects, or face just getting the dregs of green projects in a few years time.
The move follows indications that Europe's position in the green tech league tables is fast slipping from first to third since 2005, behind the U.S. and China.
According to Dave Raval, Carbon Trust projects manager at TTP, in just two years, Europe's level of VC funding (£79 million) for low carbon technologies has been overtaken by the U.S. (£444 million) and China (£110 million).
Revel told EE Times Europe this is a worrying trend and British and European VCs need to do more now and capitalize on the low carbon industry's relative youth or face being the last port of call for emerging technologies in just five years.
TTP set up an incubator that helps emerging cleantech businesses last December, and according to Reval is already helping five groups with a range of services that can include engineering or marketing support, helping manage intellectual property or writing business plans.
The companies include Nujira (Cambridge, England), which has developed and patented efficient power amplifiers for wireless applications, and 4Energy (Nottingham, England) which focuses on thermal management systems that, it claims, can double the life of back up batteries.
Support comes free, said Reval, through the Carbon Trust Incubation Programme, and he stressed TTP "does not take equity or act as a VC group through this program." TTP (Melbourn, near Cambridge, England) does, however, have a separate venture capital business.
"At the start of this year Alistair Darling, then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry stated that 'climate change could be the biggest business opportunity of the 21st century.' During this time clean technology spend by U.S. based VCs has increased to dwarf European spend and we on this side of the pond have not responded," said Raval.
He said the reasons for this slip down the rankings are many: management teams not having done it before, long development times with large cash requirements and a propensity for European investments to be smaller versus the US and China. Also, the lack of understanding of the appropriate business models can lead to caution.
"If Britain is to regain a [green spend] lead position then all these issues must be addressed and support such as the Carbon Trust Incubation Programme must be expanded rapidly to offer U.K. businesses the opportunity to meet the transatlantic competition," stressed Reval.