Jos joined the venture capital industry in 1985, as CEO of one of the first European funds. Later he co-founded Capricorn Partners, where he led the creation of one of the EU’s first cleantech funds in 2007.
Which emerging cleantech technologies is he most enthusiastic about? Synthetic biology: making food, animal feed and even materials like plastics from renewable sources.Until now this has been too expensive for widespread adoption, but thanks to new breakthrough technologies, such as those of Germany-based c-LEcta, large-scale production is now becoming feasible. Another area that’s exciting is nuclear fusion.
In the years that followed the launch of this first fund, cleantech investments grew rapidly, peaking in 2011, then contracting dramatically due to the financial crisis.
But Jos is encouraged to see that Cleantech investment is on the rise again: Cleantech for Europe research shows that the EU invested are cord-breaking €7bn in cleantech in the first half of 2021. What is different this time round?
Jos sees much stronger political and industrial commitment as well. Climate is firmly on the policy agenda – not just in Europe, but in countries which have been reluctant to commit in the past, including China and the USA.
We talked about the delicate balancing act policy makers face, between nurturing emerging technologies and ensuring a competitive market develops.
Policy works well when it sets objectives and boundaries within which new technologies can compete. It is also important that policy levels the playing field, especially with fully depreciated, but highly polluting alternatives.
The single most effective mechanism, for Jos, would be a functioning carbon market.
Jos welcomes Cleantech for Europe as an opportunity to incorporate the experience of innovative companies on the ground into the policy-making process.
Through dialogue, and real-life examples, we can contribute to policy and regulation which facilitates the translation of great ideas into realistic rule-setting and enables innovative start-ups to become game-changing success stories.