Energy

Crowdfunding Could Help Cleantech Attract Institutional Investors

Crowdfunding Could Help Cleantech Attract Institutional Investors

Crowdfunding may be a natural fit for cleantech, where conventional early-stage funding has fallen off. Last year global venture capital flows to the sector plunged 33 percent, to $6.46 billion. When Pi Investments recently lent $200,000 to solar energy projects via Internet crowdfunding platform Mosaic, it saw more than an opportunity to back clean technology. The Chicago-based family office was also keen to “peek under the hood” of a new investment infrastructure, says director of impact investments Aner Ben-Ami. Through crowdfunding outfits like Oakland, California-based Mosaic, small and medium-size U.S. companies can offer debt and soon equity stakes to the public. “Part of the reason we…

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Academic Researchers look to Crowdfunding Platforms

Academic Researchers look to Crowdfunding Platforms

When a professor from a small liberal arts college in central Pennsylvania decided to take on a massive research project two summers ago, he went through the usual, often futile, process of applying for federal and private grants. But when funds were short a year later, he went down a nontraditional route — turning to the public and the Internet for help. In 50 days, Juniata College’s Chris Grant and his research partner, Gina Lamendella, raised $10,800 through a crowdfunding website called iAMscientist. The money was used to fund an ongoing project on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on Pennsylvania’s stream ecosystems. “There were a lot…

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Crowdfunding Clean Energy

mosaic

If you wanted to get large numbers of people actively engaged in helping to solve global warming, how might you go about it? For years, the main approach in the environmental movement has been to sound the alarm bell and implore people to consume less, switch to green products, recycle, and speak up to companies and politicians. It hasn’t always been an easy sell. However, if the approach of a promising Oakland-based start-up takes hold, there may be another line of action that could become available to ordinary people: directly financing renewable energy. In January, a company called Mosaic, made a splash in the renewable energy…

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