cleantech insights

Weekly Investment Highlights

Hans Chen

Each week our research team tracks cleantech transactions across the globe. This week we recorded 21 VC/PE deals, five fund announcements, seven M&As, six transactions of other types and one IPO-related stories. Below are some of the highlights.

Venture capital and private equity investments

Over $150 million of venture/private equity fund was raised by 21 cleantech companies, the two largest deals were:

  • Massachusetts-based Gazelle, an online site that lets individuals trade in electronics for cash and then re-sells them or recycles them, announced that it has raised $22 million in its fourth round of funding from Craton Equity Partners, Physic Ventures, RockPort Capital Partners and Venrock Associates.
  • Washington-based INRIX, a developer of a predictive traffic service that anticipates conditions on specific routes, announced a commitment of $37 million in Series D round funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and August Capital. The investment will be used to fuel acquisition efforts, continued global expansion and R&D efforts


Five fund managers made important announcements. Highlights are:

  • US listed private equity firm Apollo Global Management revealed plans to raise around $1.5 billion for a fund focused on natural resources. The fund will target long-term investments in the mining, metals and

Water: Week in Review


In this week’s news, we saw a lot of water activity focused on the oil & gas industry, with a $30MM IPO of MyCelx Technologies, Veolia’s use of induced gas flotation systems for an oil sands project in Canada, and ProSep’s launch of a new seawater treatment and water injection solution specifically for the oil & gas industry. Detail on these stories and more can be found below:

M&A/ Partnerships

  • A $30 million IPO of MyCelx Technologies, a water technology company that removes emulsified and dissolved hydrocarbons in water to below 10 parts per million, is expected to be listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market in late July / early August. The company, which is moving out of the development phase ahead of a dedicated sales push as its order-book grows, has an

uShip – The Online Market Place Where “Ship Happens”

Stephen Marcus

It has been a trying time for the haulier industry with business volumes falling 30% in 2008 and fuel prices heading uncontrollably northbound, leading to 16% of hauliers going bust in 2008. This dynamic has made transporters sensitive to the wastage and inefficiencies in their industry – UK vans are empty for approx 15% of their miles; for lorries the number is 25%.

Perhaps the biggest commercial saviour for transporters is to iron out these inefficiencies. That’s the mission of Texas-based uShip, the developer of an online market place for goods delivery. uShip connects people needing heavy and bulky goods moved with transporters who have room in their vehicles. The cleantech element here is that it allows transporters to monetize journeys that they may be travelling anyway with spare capacity, particularly return journeys after single trip drop offs. The result is that the same number of deliveries can be completed in fewer journeys and miles.

For a detailed profile of uShip as well as a host of other leading innovating cleantech companies, see Cleantech Group’s new i3 platform (for subscribers only).

Since it was established in 2004, uShip has rapidly expanded its functionality, user base, and geographical reach giving …

Join me in DC in October to celebrate the 2011 Global Cleantech 100

Sheeraz Haji

For the past two years, we have tracked your growing interest in our Global Cleantech 100 report, Cleantech Group’s list of the top 100 private companies in clean technology. Undeniably our most frequently requested material, the Global Cleantech 100 quickly gained recognition as a leading resource for measuring the pulse of the Cleantech sector.

In response to the extraordinary interest in The Global Cleantech 100, Cleantech Group will be hosting the first-ever Global Cleantech 100 Summit and Gala, a day-and-a-half event where we will announce the 2011 Global Cleantech 100 winners live and celebrate the ways in which these leading companies are shaping the future of the sector.

The celebration will kick off with a Gala Dinner at the French Embassy where we will recognize the accomplishments of the 100 companies which made the list and present some special awards. At the Summit, we will further explore the trends shaping the Global 100 list and review who is making decisions on technologies, how cleantech is shifting value in specific sectors, and how large corporations and traditional industries are adapting.  Mark your calendars (October 17-18) and take advantage of our early bird pricing by registering now for the Global …

More water start-ups from the Cleantech Open


Living in the Bay Area, I hear about new start-ups on an almost daily basis – from online forums to rate beauty products to earning facebook credits through virtual shopping – and it never gets old.  That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to go to the Cleantech Open’s National Investor Conference last week, where I would not only be introduced to a host of early-stage companies and ideas, but specifically those that had qualified for the Cleantech Open’s Business Competition.

Between meeting people at the breakfast event, visiting booths around the exhibition hall, and listening to pitch sessions throughout the day, I saw my fair share of new technologies.  While I was impressed by nearly each and every company I came in contact with, some of my favorite water-related companies included:

  • Puralytics, who won last year’s Cleantech Open.  The LED nanotechnology water purification company spoke about its newest product, the Shield 600, which reduces water and electricity usage during the treatment cycle.  Now, to scale up technologies and implement its go-to-market plan, the Company is back at the Cleantech Open seeking additional funding.

Weekly Investment Highlights

Hans Chen

Each week our research team tracks cleantech transactions across the globe. This week we recorded 19 VC/PE deals, five fund announcements, nine M&As, five transactions of other types and four IPO-related stories. Below are some of the highlights.

Venture capital and private equity investments

Over $1.8 billion of venture/private equity fund was raised by 19 cleantech companies, the two largest deals were:

  • Spain-based Grupo T-Solar, the largest European solar photovoltaic power generator, received a private equity investment from Munich Re and KKR. Munich Re and KKR acquired a 49% equity stake in the existing operating assets of Grupo T-Solar for €1.07 billion (~$1.52 billion).
  • France-based Soitec, a semiconductor manufacturer that specializes in concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) technology, raised a $212 million “capital increase.” More than half of the proceeds will be devoted to the company’s continuing CPV efforts.


Five fund managers made important announcements. Highlights are:

  • US government-owned financial entity Overseas Private Investment Corp (OPIC) announced the plan to invest up to $820 million in the Indian renewable energy sector, in terms of project finance and private equity, by the end of 2011.
  • Founder and former CEO of First Solar Michael Ahearn formed a $300 million venture capital company, True

Beacon Power’s Flywheels Boost NY Grid


The end of June saw Beacon Power’s flywheel energy storage plant in Stephentown, NY reach its full operational capacity of 20 MW, and the company held an inauguration ceremony at the site just last week.  The Stephentown plant is the largest operating advanced energy storage facility in North America (traditional storage such as PSH and CAES are not included in the advanced category) and the first large-scale, grid-connected flywheel energy storage operation in the world.

Beacon’s flywheels consist of a substantial carbon-fiber composite rim, supported by a metal hub and shaft attached to an electric motor/generator.  This rotor assembly is stacked vertically with the massive rim at the top and levitated magnetically within a vacuum chamber to minimize friction.

When charging, the flywheel acts as a load, drawing electricity from the grid to rotate the rim at speeds reaching 16,000 rpm.  This spinning mass holds rotational energy that can then be harvested at a moment’s notice using the same electric motor/generator unit to feed power back onto the grid.

Such quick-responding, high capacity storage assets are useful for grid operators in providing frequency regulation services; following a variable load and balancing it more closely and efficiently with generating capacity than …

Water: Week in Review


The big news story this week is definitely today’s announcement that Ecolab is set to purchase Nalco Holding. The deal, priced at over $5 billion, will help Ecolab to bolster its presence in the oil drilling residual water treatment market. For more on this story, and other exciting news throughout the water world, continue reading below:

M&A/ Partnerships


  • ACCIONA Agua has been awarded a €17.4 million (between construction and operation) build-design-operate-maintain contract for the Escalerilla Wastewater Treatment Plant in Arequipa, Peru. ACCIONA Agua expects to have the necessary infrastructure built in the

Storage: Week in Review

Alon Gavrielov

Two big partnerships are in the news this week: first, ABB & GM working on developing technology that uses Chevy Volt batteries for grid storage.  In addition, Ener1 and Wanxiang Electric Vehicle Company are forming a joint venture to manufacture lithium-ion storage devices and supply them to the Chinese market.  For more details, continue reading below:

M&A/ Partnerships/Investments:

GM and ABB demonstrated an energy storage system that combines electric vehicle battery technology from the Chevy Volt and grid-tied electric power inverter.  The companies are partnering to create a prototype which they say can be used either for large-scale grid storage or backup power for consumers

Ener1 will be partnering with Wanxiang Electric Vehicle Company in a joint venture to manufacture lithium-ion storage energy systems for the Chinese market.  Products will include both grid-storage and electric vehicle storage systems.

The University of Illinois has entered into a licensing agreement with Xerion Advanced Battery to bring the University’s StructurePore battery-charging technology to market.



Researchers developed a graphene gel that could yield ultrafast charging of batteries.,graphene-gel-could-yield-ultrafast-batteries.aspx

GEVCo – enabling the introduction of a bespoke 2nd generation EV

Stephen Marcus

A famous African proverb says: “alone we can go faster, but together we can go further”. To me, this highlights the power of collaboration, as well as the drawbacks when mishandled. With our menu of collaborative choices only becoming more unbounded in a hyper-connected world, harnessing its transformative power is now a much larger area of opportunity for businesses and individuals.

This backdrop leads me nicely onto talking about Global Electric Vehicle Company (GEVCO), a UK-based electric vehicle company which is harnessing this exact power. “GEVCO is creating a collaborative structure which will enable a selective group of international automotive partners to collectively invest in the design of a ‘white-labelled’ electric vehicle”, according to company CEO Steve Woolley. “In return, the partners will receive direct access to the white label output of the final EV to manufacture and assemble the vehicles under their own brand with exclusivity for their market”, he added.

GEVO is planning to create two EV platforms both of which have multiple applications designed to compete in specific markets with IC cars in terms of quality, cost, design and safety. The first, the i-Mav, is a compact 4-seater EV intended primarily for urban use and targeted …