Crunching Cleantech Numbers on Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, so it seems more than apt to take a look at the latest cleantech investments. hankfully, Rob Day has already done the dirty work for me (the guy doesn’t know how to properly take a vacation).

The Q1 cleantech numbers are posted here. In line with overall investment activity, cleantech investing is down. In Q1, investment in cleantech dropped 84% drop from Q4, according to the MoneyTree Report released over the weekend from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, based on data from Thomson Reuters. The MoneyTree reported that cleantech deals dropped from $974 million in Q4 to $154 million last quarter, as deals as fell from 67 to 33.

After a first glance, my reply to Rob was that you can’t glean too much from one quarter’s worth of activity. But drill down deeper, and one wonders the age-old question about quarterly methodology. Why is MoneyTree so much different from the Cleantech Group, compared to Greentech Media (GTM) compared to VentureSource?

Thankfully, Rob dug deeper and revealed some interesting variances related to the methodology, which is posted here. For instance, why would researchers count SolFocus in Q1 when the financing occurred last year? And should a project finance in SunEdison be included in a venture report?

I agree with Rob when he says the point here is not that GTM finds cleantech activity to be different than MoneyTree, but that there was a pull back in cleantech investment.

If you have any thoughts on the cleantech methodology, let me know. I wouldn’t mind continuing the dialogue, and hearing from any investors who plan to invest in ’09.