Category Archives: Research

My areas of research

A diverse and resilient financial system for investments in the energy transition

Recently, joint work with Mark Sanders and Florian Täube has been accepted for publication in the renowned journal ‘Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability’!

Diversity makes the financial system more resilient. In addition, there is a diverse investment demand to make the transition to a more sustainable energy system. We need, among others, investment in energy transition, circular resource use, better water management and reducing air pollution. The two are linked. Making the financial system more diverse implies more equity, less debt, more non-bank intermediation and more specialized niche banks giving more relation-based credit. This will arguably also increase the flow of funds and resources to innovative, small-scale, or experimental firms that will drive the sustainability transition. Higher diversity and resilience in financial markets is thus complementary and perhaps even instrumental to engineer the transition to clean energy in the real economy.

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Do investors and entrepreneurs match? – Evidence from the Netherlands and Sweden

Our paper Do investors and entrepreneurs match? – Evidence from the   Netherlands and Sweden has been accepted for publication at TFSC!

Abstract: Entrepreneurs and investors face challenges in the ‘thin market’ for early stage entrepreneurial finance. Improving this situation has been a priority of policy makers for at least a decade, however, the challenges in this matching process are still poorly understood. Theory suggests that matching problems may originate in different perceptions in areas such as evaluation criteria, risk and risk management by investors and entrepreneurs. To find a good match it seems essential to understand what is important to your counterpart. Based on a mixed methods approach using data collected in semi-structured interviews and a survey with both entrepreneurs and investors mostly active in green tech innovation, this study systematically analyses where their perceptions deviate and where frictions in the matching process may occur. We find that a mismatch exists in the perception of risk, the importance attached to risk, the search channels used to find a potential partner and the evaluation criteria applied in evaluating a proposition (i.e., exit, innovativeness, capabilities of teams). This paper suggests that increasing market transparency and creating a mutual understanding of the investment process will prevent potentially damaging perception misalignment from arising in the first place.

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Mobilizing private finance for low-carbon innovation – a systematic review of barriers and solutions.

The final paper of my dissertation has just been accepted for publication:

This paper analyses the field of innovation studies regarding barriers to low-carbon innovation and consequences for finance (investment and divestment) and contributes to a more holistic understanding of the underlying mechanisms. A combination of technological barriers combined with economic barriers, institutional and political barriers contribute to sub-optimal low-carbon investment all along the innovation cycle. Policy makers need to take a systemic approach to enable the redirection of diverse private financial sources. Instruments range from cutting ‘dirty’ (R&D) subsidies and support for clean technology innovation and diffusion, levelling the institutional playing field and making risks of high-carbon and low-carbon technologies transparent to providing a consistent but adaptive long-term transition strategy. This would allow financiers to gradually shift their investments away from high-carbon mainstream markets and scale low-carbon technology niche-markets. However financiers also need to sharpen their competencies with regard to new clean technologies and markets.

Read the open access paper here

INNOPATHS homepage online

Happy to see that our INNOPATHS homepage is now online: www.innopaths.eu

Beyond Venture Capital: An Exploratory Study of the Finance-Innovation-Policy Nexus in Cleantech.

Finally published: Our work on financing cleantech innovation through VC/PE.

In recent years, scholarly interest in financing for innovation has grown, particularly for mitigating climate change. However, extant literature has neglected the interaction of actors along the equity financing value chain, and the indirect effects of innovation and financial policy on the supply and demand of private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC). In this paper, we emphasize the importance of these understudied aspects through a comparative case study of equity finance for cleantech in the United States and Germany. We find that systemic interdependencies between institutional investors, VC/PE and policy makers influence the conditions for innovation – the ‘finance-innovation-policy nexus’. Adverse effects of policies affecting financial markets, in particular institutional investors, have to be taken into account to effectively mobilize private investments for (cleantech) innovation.

Download the preprint here

Access the postprint here

A diverse and resilient financial system for investments in the energy transition

Diversity makes the financial system more resilient. In addition, there is a diverse investment demand to make the transition to a more sustainable energy system. We need, among others, investment in energy transition, circular resource use, better water management and reducing air pollution. The two are linked. Making the financial system more diverse implies more equity, less debt, more non-bank intermediation and more specialized niche banks giving more relation based credit. This will arguably also increase the flow of funds and resources to innovative, small scale, experimental firms that will drive the sustainability transition. Higher diversity and resilience in financial markets is thus complementary and perhaps even instrumental to engineer the transition to clean energy in the real economy.

Download the paper here

The wisdom of the crowd in funding: information heterogeneity and social networks of crowdfunders

Putting the relationship back into investing:

Crowdfunding has enabled large crowds to fund innovative projects. This type of funding might tap into the wisdom of crowds who were previously disconnected from the funding process. We distinguish between in-crowd and out-crowd funders (with and without ties to project creators) in order to test for heterogeneity in their information use. Based on the analysis of a large-scale survey amongst project funders, this paper shows that in-crowd investors rely more on information about the project creator than out-crowd investors. Out-crowd investors do not seem to attach more importance to information about the project itself than in-crowd investors, except in the case of donation-based crowdfunding. For financial return crowdfunding, financial information becomes less important once a strong relationship with the project creator is established. Our study allows project creators to target information to specific audiences based on their relationship strength across different types of crowdfunding projects.

Download open access article here

From article to blog

I am trying to use this advice more often: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2016/01/25/how-to-write-a-blogpost-from-your-journal-article/

Modes of governance for municipal energy efficiency services – the case of LED street lighting in Germany

Energy efficiency retrofits are often impeded by high perceived investment risks, long payback periods and a lack of skills. At the municipal level these issues are particularly pronounced as procuring, implementing, and managing retrofits can exceed existing municipal governance capacities. The diffusion of municipal LED street lighting as a replacement for conventional lighting serves as an example. This paper argues that technological (e.g. complexity and maturity), economic (e.g. selling services vs. products and financing costs), institutional (e.g. property situation and contracts) and competency barriers to retrofitting (e.g. lack of measurement capacity and qualified facilitators) translate into transaction costs. We develop a taxonomy of appropriate modes of municipal retrofitting governance based on transaction costs economics. The findings indicate that more market-based solutions, energy performance contracts in particular, can facilitate the procurement of innovative energy efficiency retrofitting solutions and associated investments among municipalities if neutral tenders, open-book accounting, municipal ownership and intermediary organisations allow municipalities to choose appropriate governance structures for particular technologies and retrofits.

Download the open access paper here

Barriers to low-carbon innovation, consequences for finance and policy responses

New working paper based on my PhD research published:

This paper analyses the field of innovation studies regarding barriers to low-carbon innovation and consequences for finance. It attempts to integrate previously separated literatures, bridge the gap between abstract failures and tangible barriers and add a temporal perspective to allow for more differentiated policy responses. Among the most salient problems for the commercialisation and diffusion of clean technologies, scholars have highlighted the financing environment. A complex set of barriers therefore revolves around the question of how to finance companies, projects and infrastructure based on low-carbon innovation. The paper contributes to a holistic understanding of the underlying mechanisms. A combination of technological barriers combined with economic barriers, institutional and political barriers contribute to thin financial market for low-carbon innovation all along the innovation cycle. Policy makers can chose from a variety of measures address these barriers and mobilise private finance. Avenues for future research relating to financing low-carbon innovation and corresponding policies are depicted.

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