Picture 2Reporting live from the Lahti Cleantech Venture Day ’09. The first impression is that there are lot of VCs around, which are looking to invest in Finland, and Scandinavia in general.

German, Dutch, and UK venture capitalists are present and willing to finance tickets between €1M up to €5M for first round investments. One VC on the panel commented that the economic crisis has created a lot of risk, which makes investing lucrative again – big risks, big pay-offs. The economic downturn has also made the cleantech sector more prominent and serious for investors. When you run out of money, it’s finally time to think!

While some governments have gone forward and created policies to support innovations in cleantech – feed-in tariffs and subsidies -the general feeling is that more needs to be done if the industry should remain attractive for investors and help start-ups to succeed in a market that, especially in the case of energy, is still dominated by a few big players.

While Finland and Scandinavia remain an interesting breeding ground for clean technologies, it’s generally agreed here that the cleantech sector is global. So while start-ups get going close to home, they realize that they need to get the money to go international quickly. VCs remarked that winners in the area have not materialized yet, or are being created right now. Both camps have one demand in common: entrepreneurial and management skills need to be present in the start-up -it’s not enough to just have a great product!