cleantech insights

Weekly cleantech investment highlights

Hans Chen

Each week our research team tracks cleantech transactions across the globe. This week we recorded seven venture deals, one fund announcements, 12 M&As and five IPO-related announcements. Below are some of the highlights. Cleantech Group subscribers can see the full roundup of all the deals here.

VC, private company and corporate investments

Over $11 million was raised by seven cleantech companies globally. The two largest deals were:

  • Green EnviroTech Corp., a California-based plastics recovery, separation, cleaning and recycling company, received $5m private equity investment from Centurion Private Equity, an institutional investor managed by Roswell Capital Partners LLC. The company intends to use the proceeds to fund acquisitions and for working capital for its plant start-ups in California and Wisconsin.
  • Rypos Inc., a Massachusetts-based maker of filter technology for reducing diesel vehicle emissions, has taken in $3.15 million of a planned $3.5 million Series B funding round, according to a regulatory filing. None of the investors were disclosed. The company claimed that it will use the new funds for normal business purposes.

Mergers and acquisitions

12 cleantech M&A transactions were tracked this week. Highlights included:

  • General Electric announced plans to spend $3.2b for a 90% stake in Converteam, a France-based

Puralytics: A Paradigm Shift in Distributed Water Treatment

Mia Javier

Giant, centralized water utilities are faced with the difficult task of serving a growing customer base with limited funding and increased regulation. Advances in contaminant detection have put the spotlight on a class of ‘emerging’ contaminants that standard treatment systems are typically unable to address. While technology may be available to ensure regulatory compliance, often, such solutions are cost prohibitive or in some instances, create more problems than there were to begin with like the creation of a secondary waste stream.

Yet while large water utilities serving populations of 100,000 or greater are well known (like LADWP, Thames Water) and perhaps get more press, there are classes of water users that fall in between household residential scale users and utility/ large industrial scale users.  In the case of residential users, rural areas with much smaller populations (3,000 or less) require different types of water treatment systems than what are currently utilized by large utilities. Such users require cost efficient and regulatory compliant point-of-use (POU) or point-of-entry (POE) treatment solutions. Equally important for such systems is that they be simple to operate and require low maintenance.

Similarly, smaller scale industrial and commercial users require cost efficient, easy O&M systems that can …

It’s not a War on Imported Oil; it’s Kinetic Energy Policy

David Cheng

This week, President Obama laid a goal to reduce America’s imported oil (11 million barrels per day) by a third in 10 years, which he deemed was reasonable, achievable, and necessary.  Obama outlined four mechanisms to achieve this goal: boosting domestic oil production, increasing natural gas use in fleet and public transport, encouraging biofuels and improving the efficiency of passenger vehicles.  However, presidents dating back to the 1970s have also laid out similar goals with disappointing results.  This time may be different though.  As Secretary Chu said in response to the speech: “I think technologically, we’re much closer than we ever were.”

Boosting domestic oil production

The rational environmentally-sensitive capitalist (or capital-sensitive environmentalist) agrees that a comprehensive energy policy in the US has to include some form of domestic production of fossil fuels in the near term.   I don’t want to get into a shouting match on Gulf of Mexico or ANWR drilling.  Instead, I want to focus on the new technologies in oil and gas.  While traditionally conservative, the oil and gas majors are now looking at new enabling technologies to improve exploration or operational efficiency.   For example, KPCB-backed NEOS is attempting to improve the …

Water: Week in Review

Mia Javier

Our research team regularly tracks key water sector news.  Below is this week’s highlights. Do you think we missed anything? Let us know!

Deals & Market News

  • H2O Innovation secures water treatment contracts in North Africa, Russia and North America. Under new contracts worth C$7.8 million, H2O Innovation is to supply custom-built water treatment systems and equipment to power generation and industrial end-users in Northern Africa, Russia and North

Renewable Energy Standards: Savvy or Silly?

Guest Analyst: David Gold

State renewable energy standards have gained momentum over the past decade with 29 states having put in place various types of standard mandates and five more having implemented voluntary standards (34 total).  Now the federal government is looking to get into the game with a bi-partisan bill (S. 3813) aiming to set a minimum national standard. Renewable energy standards certainly feel good, but do they really provide the best path for achieving their goals?  The existing renewable energy standards are savvy in finding a way to reduce fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions while simultaneously being politically palatable to a broad array of people.  But they are a bit silly in their formulation.

The popular momentum behind renewable energy standards, I suspect, is driven by the fact that for most consumers, there is no obvious downside.  There is no explicit tax or fee paid to the government as a result of such standards, and the actual cost to the consumer of such standards is far from black and white.   It’s easy for a person to feel good about asking the utility company to generate more electricity from renewable energy sources, and most people don’t immediately correlate that with a cost …

Cleantech Forum SF 2011: From Impact to Data to Impact

David Cheng

A week has passed since our flagship event, Cleantech Forum San Francisco 2011 (the theme: From Data to Impact).  This has been my fourth Cleantech Forum San Francisco.  I attended the prior three when I was an associate at a cleantech venture capital fund.  This one was special.  Not only because I was one of the organizers, but 2011 may be the year we (as investors, entrepreneurs, analysts and policy-makers) will begin to see the impact prior cleantech investments are making on our overall economy.  This foundational investment creates a virtuous cycle, enabling new applications to measure, monitor and control data in energy, water and resource end markets, which in turn will lead to new impacts.  I helped organize three panels (moderating two of them).  Here are my thoughts and takeaways on them:

Lessons from Cleantech China

The Panelists: Andrew Beebe, Mohsen Khalil, Andrew Tang, Jerry Bloom

The Takeaways: Andrew Beebe cautioned that China’s success in cleantech wasn’t a zero-sum game for the US or the rest of the world.  The other panelists agreed that Chinese competiveness lowered the cost of renewable generation for global consumers, and in the case of the IFC, yielded outsized returns …

Panelists Underscore Data for Sustainable Water Management

Mia Javier


Wayne Griffith (Veolia), Gina Domanig (Emerald Technology Ventures), Drew Clark (IBM) and Booky Oren (WATEC Israel) talk about the smart water grid.

While talk of energy dominated the conversation at Cleantech Forum San Francisco, I was pleased to have invited and hosted two incredible water panels and CEO case studies. Tied in closely with the theme of data to impact, both of my panels underscored the necessity of data and more importantly, analysis of such data to more sustainably manage water resources. During my first panel, Water’s Smart Grid Moment, Gina Domanig from Emerald Technology Ventures highlighted the progress of their most recent portfolio company, TaKaDu and the efficiencies and related dollar savings it enabled for its key customer, Thames Water. Meanwhile, Drew Clark from IBM discussed the role of data management and analytics IBM is bringing to clients in its water business – he highlighted IBM’s recent installation with DC Water.

An hour goes by quickly, however, and we touched briefly on the key challenges of selling into the water utility market, despite low risk, high return on investment solutions. As a service provider for over 500 water and wastewater utilities, Wayne Griffith of Veolia discussed …

Data & Cleantech: Fewer Adjectives, More Verbs

Josh Gould

As the many attendees of our recent Cleantech Forum know, the buzz around cleantech for quite some time has been about the convergence of cleantech and data.  All kinds of people – myself included – have described (using adjectives) all the ways in which this will be the next major cleantech wave.  But I wanted to use this post to drop some of the adjectives, and focus on the verbs (the doing).

At our forum, I hosted three panel discussions – each of which touched on specific actions in integrating data into cleantech:

1. Intelligent Buildings

“Version 1.0″ of the intelligent building was about swapping out old, inefficient light fixtures and HVAC systems for newer, more efficient ones.  Certainly 1.0 still has a long ways to go but lighting controls and software companies like Lumenergi, efficiency consulting and implementation firms like Ecos, and traditional HVAC companies like Trane are all increasingly shifting their focus to managing and optimizing data around energy building use, rather than just providing more efficient devices.  

2. Financing Energy Efficiency

Traditional energy efficiency financing is based on the ESCO model.  While certainly a profitable business for companies like Johnson Controls, this model has …

Water: Week in Review

Mia Javier

Our research team regularly tracks key water sector news.  Below is this week’s highlights. Do you think we missed anything? Let us know!


  • Veolia Announces Partnerships from Veolia Innovation Accelerator Program. Announced at Cleantech Forum San Francisco as part of its recently launched Veolia Innovation Accelerator (VIA) program, Veolia Environnement announced the first partnerships: Envolure, CoSMo and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies.
  • Hydrophones for Leak Detection. Sensor Technology, Canada, has received a repeat order for hydrophones custom-designed for a unique application in fire hydrants. Most of the hydrophones the company manufactures are used in marine applications. The fire hydrants, by Hinni AG of Switzerland, use hydrophones to detect leaks in the piping network. The sensors take sound measurements at pre-defined intervals and compare them to reference values.
  • Imagine H2o Winners Announced: Water Energy Nexus Prize. The first place winner, Hydrovolts, uses floating hydro-kinetic

Weekly cleantech investment highlights

Ousi Li

Each week our research team tracks cleantech transactions across the globe. This week we recorded 17 venture deals, 3 fund announcements, 13 M&As and 3 IPO related announcements. Below are some of the highlights. Cleantech Group subscribers can see the full roundup of all the deals here.

VC, private company and corporate investments

Over $230 million was raised by 17 cleantech companies globally. The two largest deals were:

  • Massachusetts-based Harvest Power, a producer of renewable energy and fertilizer products from organic waste, raised $51.7 million from new investors Generation Investment Management, DAG Ventures, and Keating Capital, along with existing investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Waste Management, Munich Venture Partners, and TriplePoint Capital.
  • California-based BrightSource, a developer of solar power projects, has updated its current round of funding to $122.5 million by adding $33 million.  The company raised $176 million in September 2010 and plans to build a total of 2.6GW of power plants to deliver electricity to U.S. utility providers PG&E and Edison.


Announcements were made by 3 funds looking to raise over $1.2 billion. The top two were:

  • Nikko Asset Management’s UCITS-III, Nikko AM World Bank Green Fund announced that it has raised £400 million ($644 million)