Venture capital investment in cleantech was down locally and nationally for most of last year, as several firms retreated from a broad, ill-defined sector that may never have been well-suited to the typical VC model in the first place.

The trend is expected to continue this year, which means young companies looking for funding from the usual suspects will probably have a tougher time in 2013. But as with any transition, there are also reasons to be optimistic.

Seattle cleantech entrepreneurs have in their backyard one of the nation’s foremost angel investing groups, the Northwest Energy Angels. Vancouver, BC,-based venture firms like Yaletown Venture Partners and Chrysalix are among those that remain committed to the sector, and they keep a close eye on the Northwest.

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