American Ambassador Promotes Swedish Cleantech Firms to New England Investors

The U.S. ambassador to Sweden, Michael Wood, wants American investors to put their money into Swedish cleantech. This week he presented his case to New England investors and venture capital firms.

“During my two years as ambassador, I have been emphasizing cooperation between Sweden and the U.S.A. in cleantech. I call this my one big thing,” says Wood.

Nearly 40 major investors, state politicians, and venture capitalists gathered at a meeting hosted by Flagship Ventures on Wednesday to hear Ambassador Wood present his list of the 48 hottest cleantech companies in Sweden—a list he has compiled by traveling all around the country since he was appointed in 2006.

“I have found a great number of small Swedish companies with great ideas for alternative energy solutions. On the other hand, in the U.S., there has been an enormous amount of capital raised for investments in cleantech,” the ambassador says. “In Sweden we have ideas looking for money, in the U.S. money looking for ideas.”

The companies on his list range from small start-ups like biopolymer developer Xylophane, wave energy specialist Seabased, and photovoltaic producer Midsummer to established, midsize firms like heat pump producer NIBE Heating. Commercial R&D into alternative energy sources—especially biofuels for heating and automobiles—has been heavily promoted by the government of Sweden, which has ambitious plans to reduce the country’s carbon dioxide emissions.

According to Wood, who spoke with Xconomy after his presentation, the reaction was very positive. Several investors asked to be included in the “cleantech mission to Sweden” that the embassy is organizing in late May. Wood is also planning for a similar event for the fall.

Wednesday’s meeting was attended by representatives of 22 New England-based venture capital firms, according to the embassy. Wood gave a similar presentation in Silicon Valley a year ago. At that time, he had only 30 companies on his list.

Erik Mellgren is a Swedish journalist who worked for Xconomy Boston in 2008 as part of the Stanford Innovation Journalism Fellowship program. His real job is with Ny Teknik, a leading technology and innovation magazine in Sweden, but he loved seeing the Red Sox at Fenway. Follow @

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