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05 May 2020

Research Report: Investing in Early Stage Renewable Tech

Investing in Early Stage Renewable Startups: Comparing the Decision-Making Process of Venture Capitalists, Business Angels and Strategic Investors


There is a growing awareness of the negative impacts of climate change on the planet, so the need for a transition from fossil fuels to low-carbon options on a worldwide scale has never been more evident. Start-ups with innovative technologies in the field of renewable energy are part of the solution, as they have the potential to fundamentally drive this transition.

However, in the capital-intensive and relatively conservative energy sector, it is extremely challenging for new ventures to attract sufficient funding to even survive, far less go through the phases of development and growth. Early-stage private equity and venture capital investors have the potential to reduce this funding gap.

The investment decision-making and evaluation processes of investors have been part of academic debate for decades. Existing research, however, lacks insights into how different types of investors vary in how they assess the quality of a start-up and how these differences can be explained.

The new Investing in Early-Stage Renewable Energy Start-ups report aims to fill this knowledge gap by investigating the differences in screening criteria between three different types of investors in the renewable energy space, and the potential role of risk avoidance strategies of investors in explaining these differences.


The study was a collaboration between Erasmus University, Energy Investment Management and Initiate. Noortje van Heijst, the author of the report, conducted this research as an Investment Advisor at Energy Investment Management.

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About The Author:

Noortje van Heijst, Initiate, Enlit Europe

Noortje van Heijst conducted this research as an Investment Advisor at Energy Investment Management. She is now working at VenturesOne as an Investment Associate, a venture capital fund in The Hague, The Netherlands. She graduated cum laude from Rotterdam University with a master degree in Global Business and Sustainability and holds a Bachelor degree in Public Administration from Leiden University. Noortje is a genuine start-up enthusiast and has extensive experience in the start-up industry at Get in the Ring, a global pitching competition for start-ups, Unknown Group, a technology scouting agency, and the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about innovation and start-ups, and the role of innovation in the energy transition, and is highly motivated to contribute to a sustainable future.



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