Performance of Cleantech Venture Funds

by Bronwyn Williams

  • 16 Apr 2010
  • PE

Cleantech is an emerging sector, and as such only private equity funds with recent vintages have been able to include the sector in their industry focus. We analyzed the performance figures of venture capital funds focusing purely on cleantech investments for the vintage years 2006 to 2009. These funds are still relatively early in their investment cycles and are still actively investing in new portfolio companies. 2006 vintage funds have invested just over half of their capital, vintage 2007 funds have 60% of their capital available for new investments, vintage 2008 funds have 80% available, and vintage 2009 funds have approximately 90% of their capital ready to be invested.

Only a handful of funds have started to distribute money back to their investors. Therefore, median benchmark figures for cleantech venture funds do not show any distributions for the vintage years 2006 to 2009. The net asset value of these funds is below 100% of the paid-in capital, with funds of vintage 2006 standing at 97% and other vintages at around 85-87%. These net asset values are low because of management fees and the fact that fund managers need time to add value to their investments. As these funds become more mature, net asset values are likely to change significantly. It is still too early to examine the net asset values or net multiples of cleantech funds, but the current performance of such funds is in line with comparable venture funds.

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