The idea of launching a startup with some venture capital and going public or getting acquired within a few short years -- in other words, cashing out -- has its appeal for investors and entrepreneurs. In the cleantech sector, it has become clear that most venture-backed technologies will require considerably more time and capital to mature than their Web 2.0 predecessors. For the first generation of battery startups developing technology for the nascent electric vehicle market, and their investors, exits may be especially hard to come by. Over the next several years, the initial wave of winners emerging from today's venture capital and stimulus-fueled hotbed of battery innovation will likely be those that manage to finance the clunky, capital-intensive and lengthy business of manufacturing. With more standardization in the sector, however, a second wave of battery developers will increasingly be able to take cues from the semiconductor, telecommunications and biotech industries on the path to outsourcing manufacturing or selling their R&D.
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