How to Find Renewable Energy Startups to Invest In

8 minute read

You get out of it only as much as you put into it.” When I was a kid, a family friend used to tell me that there are three things in life for which this rule applies. Those three things are knowledge, money, and health. Thinking back on the sentiment, like there’s more to it, like the give and take is more unpredictable and less zero-sum than I was led to believe. 

For instance, when you put money in a savings account and allow it to accumulate interest, you get more out of it than what you initially put in. But one thing’s for sure, you can’t reap the rewards of anything without investing in it first - be it time, effort, or money.

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Unfortunately, for a long time, there has been very little investment in innovative renewable energy technologies. This is a major reason why renewable energy technologies haven’t delivered, i.e. haven’t been efficient enough to overtake fossil fuels. Yet the same period of negligence has been marked by a growing sense of urgency to combat climate change, pollution, and other unsavory socio-economic and environmental practices.

Practices that fuel our consumerist, have-it-all, throw-away culture. This has led to global efforts to reduce the carbon footprint, including attempts to transition into renewable energy. But how can we do that if innovative renewable energy has been pushed to the background for so long?

Luckily, big companies and all sorts of investors - angels, VCs, etc. - are joining the good fight and investing more and more in renewable energy startups. For instance, Siemens has partnered up with hydrogen car startup Riversimple, and even big oil companies are investing in renewables.

Find innovative energy startups →

However, finding startups to invest in isn’t without its challenges. To find innovative renewable energy startups, you need the right innovation tools that’ll allow your team to manage the search and vetting processes. And with that in mind, let’s take a look at tools for innovation management that’ll transform the way companies find the most innovative renewable energy startups to invest in.

Tools for innovation management

If you’ve ever dabbled in handiwork or repairs, you may have a nice toolbox with all sorts of screwdrivers, hammers, screws, nails, the works. Yet despite the variety, after a while, you find yourself using only a few of the tools inside it.

My friend has a quirky 1993 Lada Samara that breaks down on every road trip, and he can tell you that you don’t need more than five tools to get her going again. Just like if you were to prepare a document, you probably wouldn’t alternate between Microsoft Word, Google Docs, OpenOffice, and LibreOffice all the time, but rather stick to one or two that are most resourceful and suitable for your needs.

The same goes for innovation tools and tools for innovation management. You don’t really need a multitude of platforms and subscriptions. What you ideally need is one or two that’ll give you the right features or tools that you’ll need when finding startups to invest in.

Such innovation tools allow you to take an idea and actualize it into something with potential for profit, marketability, and value in the world. Investment professionals and R&D teams have their work cut out for them, so essentially they need a way to find investment opportunities that require minimal energy and resources.

Tools for innovation management turn ideas into reality

Resourceful innovation tools can help teams find renewable energy startups that fit their own set of criteria. Criteria that are based on actionable insights, data that quantifies quality, filters that sift through massive databases, preferences in terms of target sectors, market trends, custom reports, and the list goes on.

The truth is, great ideas are within arm's reach - but without the right tool to match them to the right investor, they’ll never get the chance to see the light of day or turn into innovations that change the world. Tools for innovation management help companies in the process of finding the best investment opportunities as smoothly as possible.

Types of innovation tools

Tools for innovation management can be broken down into two categories: divergent and convergent tools. Divergent tools yield as many results as possible - like ideas or in our case, startups. Convergent tools filter and analyze this vast amount of data to come up with a smaller number of relevant and actionable options.

You can think of it this way when you’re brainstorming the solution to a problem. You start off by envisioning and exploring all sorts of methods and possibilities. You then sit down with your team and build upon each other’s ideas while trying to visualize what may fulfill that need. This is divergent thinking. 

Once you have all this information laid out in front of you, you can start narrowing down the options by analyzing and critically approaching each idea. Eventually, you categorize the options and select the best idea as your final decision. This is convergence.

The best innovation tools combine divergence and convergence

The best innovation tools will do both. For instance, let's say that you’re looking at the solar energy sector in general, but your specific area of interest is in the maintenance of these panels. A good innovation tool should match you up with relevant technologies and companies, like a startup that designs autonomous, AI-powered panel cleaning systems. But how does it work, and what should you expect from such tools for innovation management?

What to look for in innovation tools

As I already mentioned, the investment professionals and R&D department at your company need something that will yield optimal results with the least amount of effort. Minimum effort, maximum results - that’s really what everyone’s after, and today, technology has actually made this goal achievable.

Ease of use

To begin with, innovation tools need to be easy to use. One of the main reasons Google beat all its competitors and got to a point where it accounts for nearly 87% of all search engine market share is because of the simplicity of its interface. You need a tool for innovation management that’s intuitive and straightforward. No matter how many filters or search criteria it offers, you still need to be able to quickly and easily make sense of the results.

Relevance of results

That brings us to the next point, and incidentally, another reason why Google became so popular and that’s the relevance of results. What good is a massive database that gives you lots of hits if none of them suit your purposes? And what good is it if you have to find the relevant results on your own?

Customization

Next, innovation tools need to be customizable. Investing in a new startup is no laughing matter, and you’re going into the task of finding the right fit with certain criteria in mind. A good innovation tool will allow you to customize your search in a way that fits you best. Basically, it’s all about finding startups to invest in your own way.

Analytics and actionable insights

This brings us to the next point: the data provided by the tool needs to be converted into analytics and actionable insights. Custom reports are an example of something that can help you get a better idea of market trends, demands, and what disruptive technologies are ready to break the mold. 

An AI-powered database

Lastly - though the list is by no means exhaustive - a good innovation tool will be powered by AI. The best part about AI-driven databases is that they learn from your behavior to improve and personalize your recommendations. At the same time, they improve themselves and the way they work. AI-driven platforms are capable of quickly going through complex and vast mounds of data to bring back insights that are tailored to your needs.

How our platform can help you find renewable energy startups to invest in

We don’t expect you to take anyone’s word for it without the goods to back up the claim. So we’ll go over some features that make Valuer an all-around tool for innovation management. If you want to learn more, you can read about the 10 ways Valuer helps you identify investment opportunities.

The Valuer Score

Did you know that Valuer can quantify quality? Based on carefully selected criteria, such as growth, innovation, success, maturity, sustainability, and data completeness, the AI assigns scores to all the startups in its database.

[Related Article - Use Case: Energy Startup for a Corporate Accelerator]

Just looking at the score will help you get a quick idea about a startup’s development stage, innovativeness, success so far, etc. You can also look at the score breakdown to see how a certain company ranks in each criterion. So for example, if you’re looking for a company that’s innovative but early-stage, you can select a startup with a high innovation score and a lower maturity score. For instance, we gave it a whirl to discover the top renewable energy startups in 2021.

Innovative and customizable search options

Valuer offers various search features that you can use to launch a search and then narrow down the results based on useful metrics and features. These functionalities allow for a customizable experience when finding renewable energy startups to invest in.

Search for startups

If you already know what area you want to explore, you can start off by typing in a search query in as much or little detail as you like. Then select the industries or sub-industries you’re interested in to help the AI hone in more precisely in what you’re looking for. From there, you can use filters to further narrow down your results list. 

Radars

Next, you want to further filter results and then follow innovations in those industries. Once you’re done narrowing down the results based on custom parameters like sector, tech, company, or competition, you can add your favorites to the radars page. The radar tracking feature allows you to receive notifications whenever new, disruptive technology or startups in your selected industries pop up. Being on top of new technologies and trends allows you to swoop in and find the ideal renewable energy startup to invest in when the time is right.

Explore Industries

Another way you can start a search is by using our “Explore Industries” feature. Here, you can select from a number of industries, giving you a visual overview, through what we call clusters. 

Clusters are essentially a Cluster Map of an industry that can also be broken down further by sub-industry, giving you not only an overview but also a way to easily see where sub-industries intersect. Each dot in the cluster represents individual startups, is color-coded based on sub-industry, and is spatially distributed by our AI based on how similar they are to each other.

Grundfos, a pump manufacturing giant, used cluster maps to find startups in the water sector that they would like to work with. They received over 250 matches of startups dealing with all phases of the water cycle, including a payment platform in rural Africa and a company offering circular water solutions.

Look-alikes

But it’s different strokes for different folks, right? Some of us like algorithms like Netflix’s that give us suggestions based on our past likes and dislikes. So alternatively, you can start your search for innovative renewable energy startups by typing in the name of a company you like and getting results of similar startups with the look-alikes feature. Plus, the AI will learn from your behavior and preferences to give you better results in the future.

Explore technology

Finally, you can start your search by using the feature explore technology. Just select what technology you’re interested in from our list and from there you can find out which companies and industries are developing and applying it. Or, take advantage of the technology deep-dive feature that will give you in-depth insights into the selected technological field you’re curious about. 

Use all of these features in tandem to get the most out of the platform. And if you don’t quite find what you’re looking for, you can order bespoke reports from our research team. 

Actionable insights using AI

There are innovation tools out there that rely on a vast database, but a vast database is basically a massive needle in a haystack search if it doesn’t feature a powerful discernment mechanism. The AI assistant in our platform can help you go through market trends, see what competitors are doing, and give you strategic data-based insights that’ll eventually help you find that needle and make a smart decision.

Make smart decisions with the help of your AI assistant

As we already talked about how you can search for specific technologies by typing in a description or rather the problem you want to solve. How we get there is by the AI translating your search from keywords and semantics into matches, i.e. results. 

But how does the AI work specifically? The AI does this by using natural language processing (NLP) that’s an improved version of BERT. BERT is a bidirectional or non-directional language model that has the ability to learn the contextual relationship between words and yield highly relevant results to your search query.

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Valuer: an innovation tool that will help you find renewable energy startups

Transitioning to renewable energy is a crucial building block in the efforts to decarbonize and mitigate climate change. Of course, it’s impossible to do that without focusing investments in the renewables sector, as we’ve seen in the past. Lack of investment in innovative renewable energy startups is one of the main reasons why renewables aren’t ready for prime time currently.

Luckily, there are increasing numbers of big companies looking to be a part of change, a part of the sustainable shift. Some invest due to a corporate or personal sense of responsibility, some due to a visionary mindset or the future profitability of renewables, and some due to social pressure. This matters little - what matters are the results.

We are still far from the numbers that the renewable energy sector needs to see in order to speed up the development and efficiency of innovative technologies. Our platform is here for those ready to dip their toes or even take the plunge.

Find innovative energy startups →

The platform combines divergent and convergent methods to give you a full experience and help you turn an idea into a tangible innovation. Ideally, this is the road that starts with investment and ends with disruptive technology that makes the world a better place. With the help of customizable search metrics, our AI assistant, and bespoke reports, we will help you get there.

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