Solar shines but the Web wins. Or so it would seem from the latest data from PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Its quarterly MoneyTree report shows that venture capitalists poured $1.5 billion into Internet-specific businesses in the second quarter. Clean-tech companies yielded a little more than half that, or $883.6 million.
It's a fascinating result. Legendary venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield, and Byers recently made headlines in Fortune for eschewing tech deals in favor of opportunities in clean tech.
What's more, the Internet software, services, and solutions sector as tracked in Motley Fool CAPS -- whose ranks include Akamai Technologies (Nasdaq: AKAM ) , Gmarket (Nasdaq: GMKT ) , and GigaMedia (Nasdaq: GIGM ) -- is underperforming, down more than 16% over the past year.
Solar stocks, by contrast, are up 10.5% over the same period. Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE ) , First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR ) , and SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWR ) are among those to have substantially beat the market over the past 52 weeks.
Nevertheless, I understand what VCs are thinking. The economic advantages of the Web are well-known and yielding huge returns. Solar and clean tech, while obviously beneficial and destined to be huge, are crowded early markets. Technically, we can't be sure what will win and what will lose.
The rub? Venture investors don't speculate as much as we like to think. Here, they're betting on a market -- the Web -- that's suddenly unloved but is well-known for its ability to produce excellent businesses. History says they'll do well.
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