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The Top 20 Energy Startups of 2020

Yuan-Sheng Yu, Director, Research
February 1, 2021

Based on interviews with key startups in the energy space, the Lux Energy Team has published a list of the top 20 startups in 2020. These startups have been evaluated by our team of technology experts on their technology, business strategy, leadership, and market positioning. They have been awarded a “Lux Positive” or “Lux Strong Positive” rating and published in the market map “Top Energy Startups of 2020.

Download the Top Energy Startups of 2020 Market Map

Every year, the Lux Research team conducts thousands of interviews with leading startups developing novel and emerging technologies. By speaking directly with founders, we s are able to unearth technical and strategic details often missing from traditional pitch decks and press releases, culminating in the Lux Research Company Profile. We score each company on 10 metrics on a scale from 1 to 5, with categories including the technology value proposition, IP, management team, and momentum. The nearly 15-year methodology has enabled Lux to pick winning startups at four times the success rate of the tech startup industry average.

We categorized the startups into four key trends the energy industry should be tracking:

  1. Evolution of Energy Networks – New technologies are disrupting today’s isolated and unidirectional energy supply chains, but successful strategies must learn how to reuse existing infrastructure effectively.

  2. Decarbonization of Industry – Carbon and energy use in the industrial sector remains one of the hardest decarbonization challenges in the energy system, with many solutions not available yet.

  3. Optimal Use of Resources – New energy technologies have new land, water, and key mineral requirements; inherent limitations will shape the energy transition.

  4. Future Energy for Mobility – Even though electrification seems to be a panacea for mobility at times, it is not the ultimate solution, as a mix of energy carriers are required to decarbonize transportation.

Receiving a Positive or Strong Positive Lux Take isn't an easy feat. Our analysts not only meticulously analyze the technology but also assess the startup’s go-to-market strategy. The startups within this elite group exemplify both, with many already gaining commercial traction in their respective applications. With renewed interest from investors in cleantech in the past year, we expect an influx of capital to support promising startups and go toward several unworthy ones as well.

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Patience will be key, an investment horizon of 10 to 20 years may be required for this space. It is becoming even more important to conduct the proper due diligence to justify an investment to avoid falling for the hype that is quickly building in the industry. While we don’t think we’re on the verge of another cleantech bubble like the one from more than a decade ago just yet, short-term memory and the allure of chasing the next cleantech unicorn startup may lead a lot of investors down a path of disappointment.

The named top startups include Ampaire, Amply Power, CarbonCure Technologies, Cheesecake Energy, Cuculus, EnergySource Minerals, Framergy, Greenbird Integration Technology, Ionic Materials, Lithium Americas, Lithium Werks, MagniX, Onzo, Peak Power, Piclo, PolyPlus Battery, SolidEnergy Systems, Svante, UniEnergy Technologies, Virta. Download our market map to learn more.

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