MENLO PARK, Calif. The fundamental value of new technology ideas remains sound despite the unfolding economic crisis, said veteran venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, outlining opportunities he sees in so-called clean technologies.
Startups need to be agile, respond quickly to changing situations and take a go-slow approach in the current climate, said Khosla, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems. Companies depending on retail spending may be hardest hit, but the downturn could spawn new opportunities for some startups.
"Companies like IBM and Motorola will be slowing down or even stopping some of their research programs and that could create opportunities for startups in the next three to five years," he said in a talk before a small group of startup executives here Tuesday (Nov. 11).
Much of Khosla's talk was devoted to so-called clean technologies, the primary focus of his current firm Khosla Ventures. The company was founded in 2004 and has made investments in as many as 45 startups in the field to date.
Alternative energy is the most popular area for technology graduates working on advanced degrees today, although it was not even among the top five focus areas for them just three years ago, he said. "That has changed dramatically, so we will see a lot of new talent coming into this field," he said.
After answering a question on the nexus between IT and clean tech, Kholsa outlined the four focus areas for his investments in clean tech. "The markets are so large and there are still a lot of easy pickings," he said.