Flood of funding

The water industry is set to receive a deluge of investment support as it rides the cleantech wave.

Opinion and expert commentary for UK entrepreneurs

While the rains have lashed down across much of the UK, leaving many of us wondering how there can be a hosepipe ban still in place, the water and waste water sector has seen a number of interesting developments.
Jon Moulton’s Greensphere Capital had sat dormant for nearly a year but has now teamed up with Foresight Group to lead a new £80 million government-matched fund targeting waste water recycling and reprossessing facilities, pre-treatment projects and energy-from-waste projects.
On the deal front, Bluewater Bio has closed a £22.5 million growth capital deal, reversing the trend that saw £142 million of venture capital raised across the entire water industry in 2011, and a move which water entrepreneurs will hope opens the floodgates after a drought of VC support.

There is no doubt that the cleantech sector has been buoyed by the increasing emphasis being placed on it by global governments and environmental campaigners, and it now appears that the water sector is catching up.
Some $566 million was invested in cleantech projects in the UK during 2011, a rise of £40 million and 7 per cent on 2010.
The New Energy Awards 2011, hosted by Business XL, highlighted the efforts of investors such as Oxford Capital Partners and entrepreneurs like Zenex’s Chris Farrell in driving forward cleantech innovation in Britain.
Globally, venture and corporate investments rose by 13 per cent to $8.99 billion. Venture capital investment in cleantech was the second highest since 2008, with solar and energy efficiency leading the way.
The move by the coalition government to launch a new water specific investment fund is part of its Green Investment Bank, aimed solely at, as it describes, ‘greening the economy’.
The government has stated that £200 billion is needed for the energy system alone over the period to 2010, an amount which is going to take some scratching about to find in a period where figures have officially placed us back in a recession.

It’s a long way to go, but with industry veterans like Jon Moulton leading the way it looks like there are definite shoots of growth for green businesses in the UK.

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