Tom Blaisdell, a general partner at DCM, isn’t interested in green tech that won’t pay off. He’s looking for things that any good venture capitalist wants: protectable investments, disruptive technology, and ROI. But with so many greenwashed companies touting their energy-saving miracle technology, what’s worth paying attention to?
“Our primary bets are on energy efficiency. That’s the lowest hanging fruit,” Blaisdell told FastCompany.com at this week’s Green:Net conference. “We do out of the box investments, but we haven’t spent much time with biofuels, wind power, cars, or building materials.”
DCM’s big out-of-the-box greentech investment is in MIOX, a company that produces an onsite water disinfectant technology that uses just salt, water, and power–no need to store nasty chemicals onsite. MIOX can make its systems small enough to be used by a backpacker taking a solo trip or large enough to serve a municipality the size of Dallas. So far, MIOX has appealed primarily to municipalities, but the company is expanding its reach to beverage companies (including Coca-Cola) as well as countries with less reliable clean water supplies like China. “There isn’t a water shortage in the world. There’s a shortage of getting it where we want it, when we want it, and at the quality we want it,” Blaisdell said.
Besides MIOX, DCM invests mostly in the usual suspects like solar power, LEDs, and battery technology. Solar panels are especially attractive to an IT venture capitalist like Blaisdell–they’re really just giant semiconductors chips. “The energy business is a trillion dollar market. We just want to be part of the mix,” Blaisdell said.