A broad cleantech recovery, the rise of crowdfunding, risk to electric vehicle growth rates and surprises in rare earth element industry profits lead cleantech research and consultancy Kachan & Co.’s 2014 cleantech predictions.
In 2014, Kachan forecasts a continued recovery in cleantech, with an overall upward trend in metrics like corporate, private equity and family office investment, venture debt, project finance, mergers and acquisitions, and new innovation.
The company predicts investors and service providers that have distanced themselves from the cleantech meme may restore cleantech-related teams at their firms, noting that demand at the largest companies in the world for clean and green products and services is driving the cleantech recovery.
Also in 2014, Kachan expects equity and debt-based crowdfunding platforms to catch their stride and serve as legitimate channels for cleantech vendors and project developers to raise modest amounts of capital.
Kachan predicts that certain capital efficient cleantech companies will be able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for themselves in equity or debt using horizontal crowdfunding platforms like AngelList or FundersClub, or vertical industry-specific debt and equity portals like Mosaic, SunFunder or other emerging platforms. Under current regulations, such crowdfunded raises may ultimately be feasible up to $1 million per company per year in the US.
Kachan believes 2014 will see continued slower-than-expected growth of EVs. The company partly cites fuel efficiency innovations in internal combustion engines and related technologies for undermining the aggressive uptake once expected for electric vehicles. It also cites an increasing number of fuel cell vehicle announcements in 2013 from leading automakers.
Kachan does not expect fortunes will be made in 2014 in rare earth element mining companies. In the short term, it predicts recycling will be one of the few rare earth plays with upward motion.
Last year, in its annual predictions, Kachan forecast cleantech would “backtrack” in 2013.