Smart grid startups compete for highly variable venture funding

Venture capital industry interest and investment in smart grid startups has been up and down over the past five years, ranging from a peak of nearly $316 million in 2009 to around $100 million or less in 2011 (as of the end of September). There’s reason to be optimistic about the future growth of the sector, however. Powerful fundamental factors — the shift to cleaner, renewable energy sources and market deregulation among them — continue to support growth, as do smart grid proponents and technology providers.

You don’t need a Mayan calendar to predict this potential disaster

Here we are in 2012, and while some fatalists are predicting the end of civilization, I’m going to predict another kind of end. This year will see an end to the current avalanche of investing in what I call “app lifestyle” companies, which have little to no hope of ever producing a sustainable business or “venture” return, usually defined as a 10X return on investment.