50 shades of green - Angel investing in green businesses

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Entrepreneurs will play a critical role in developing the technological solutions to achieve a successful transition to net carbon zero. Their ability to develop these innovations into market ready products requires access to finance. Angels play a critical role in financing the start of the entrepreneurial pipeline. However, their actual and potential role investing in green/clean businesses is not considered in either the business angel or socially responsible investment literatures. This article addresses this omission. It asks what motivates business angels to invest in green/clean tech businesses and how the weight of green/clean tech in their portfolios impacts the motivations to invest in this sector. Based on interviews with 65 investors, we show that the motivation of business angels for investing in green/clean tech opportunities differs according to the proportion of their investment portfolio that comprises green/clean tech investments. Those angels who invested solely in green/clean tech gave a higher weighting to economic motivations and lower weightings to Altruistic and Hedonistic motivations. Angels with less exposure to green/clean tech in their portfolios gave a higher weighting to Altruistic motivations and had lower weightings for economic and hedonistic motivations. Our findings have implications for policy-makers and to green entrepreneurs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)950-962
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Issue number3
Early online date27 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Business angels
  • Gioia method
  • entrepreneurial finance
  • green/clean tech
  • investment motivations

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