Green start-ups attracting substantial venture capital

Investor interest in eco-friendly start-ups has taken a leap with the entry of two big venture-capital players into the field. Two California public pension funds — the largest and third-largest in the U.S. — recently announced plans to invest a combined $950 million in the clean-technology field in coming years. Beneficiaries of their investment funds include companies developing non-toxic batteries, ocean-wave power systems, water-treatment systems, and other products and services that cut down on energy use and waste. Entrepreneurs moving into clean tech, and the investors trailing in their wake, are not motivated primarily by enviro do-gooderism, according to Bob Epstein of Environmental Entrepreneurs. “It’s driven by economics,” he says. A new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council supports that viewpoint, predicting that clean-tech companies could create 52,000 to 114,000 well-paying jobs in California over the next six years.