Investors in early-stage breakthrough energy companies are typically signing up for 6 – 12 year, long-term collaborations with an entrepreneur. The first stages of dating are about building trust on both sides. Capital backers learn trust through:
- Product use cases
- Working prototypes
- 3rd party certifications
- White papers
- All indications of customer interest: Letters of Interest, Letters of Intent, Testimonials, Purchase Orders.
The best investors are founders and entrepreneurs. They understand calculated risk, as innovations move from lab proof-of-concept to working prototype to small-scale industrial demo to commercial-scale demo to full commercial configuration.
The best cleantech entrepreneurs have split personalities: they are part visionary optimist and part sober-minded realist. They don’t care for fashion and they have confidence.