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.

Five trends that will dominate the “cloud” in 2012

2011 has been an exciting year for the cloud. Companies are starting to accept the idea of using internet-based services instead of servers they control themselves. That in turn has driven a push to make the technologies more mature — and the tech companies making those technologies are growing up too.