cleantech insights

Water: Week in Review


This week we saw a host of activity all around the water world.  For details on what companies like Bluewater Bio, MWH Americas, and Pentair are up to, read the stories below:

M&A/ Partnerships

  • Aqua America and Penn Virginia Resource Partners (PVR) have formed a joint venture, Aqua-PVR Water, to construct and operate a private

Top 5 Things Cleantech Entrepreneurs Fail to Understand About Raising Venture Capital

Guest Analyst: David Gold

After decades of venture capital investment, growth and exit, the traditional focus areas of venture capital (such as IT, web and software) have developed strong entrepreneurial ecosystems. A high percentage of start-ups in these traditional areas come to market with one or more experienced entrepreneurs or with a strong and active network of investors/advisors who have “been there, done that.”   They know what it takes to raise capital and to build a great fast-growing business.  Cleantech companies, however, are much more likely to be led by first-time entrepreneurs who often struggle to create an ecosystem of experience people around them.

As a venture capitalist, I review hundreds of business plans each year and physically meet with roughly a hundred entrepreneurs seeking capital.  I have the advantage of doing this through the eyes of someone who has been on the other side of the table, having raised venture capital for my own start-up before becoming a VC.  And while there are certainly numerous exceptions, there are themes I see across cleantech start-ups that are not specific to their technology or market but which nonetheless impede their ability to raise capital.  Here is the top five…

Technology is necessary, but not sufficient.

Weekly Investment Highlights

Hans Chen

Each week our research team tracks cleantech transactions across the globe. This week we recorded 11 VC/PE deals, seven fund announcements, three M&As, three transactions of other types and four IPO-related stories. Below are some of the highlights.

Venture capital and private equity investments

Over $278 million of venture/private equity fund was raised by 11 cleantech companies, the two largest deals were:

  • India-based ReNew Wind Power, a recently established startup that develops wind energy projects, raised $202 million from Goldman Sachs’ private equity arm. Goldman Sachs acquired a majority stake in ReNew in the transaction.
  • California-based Siluria Technologies, a developer of methane conversion technology for creating biofuels and chemicals from methane, raised $20 million in Series B round of financing led by Wellcome Trust.


Seven fund managers made important announcements. Highlights are:

  • South Korean conglomerate LG Group released details on its $7 billion green technology investment program, confirming that it plans to invest KRW 8 trillion (~$7 billion) in “green new business” sectors by 2015.
  • Environmental investment group Impax Asset Management closed its second private equity fund, Impax New Energy Investors II, on €330m (~$450 million). The firm also said that the fund will primarily focus on the renewable

NY Proposing Strict Limits on Ballast Water

Whitney Michael

Jim Tierney, with New York’s Conservation Department, says every ship passing through his state’s territory will have to install miniature treatment plants right on board.

A few weeks ago, some of us at Cleantech Group were talking about ballast water in the break room (we take some exciting breaks around here).  It’s one of those problems we’ve only recently realized is a problem:  as ships travel, they take on ballast water from one part of the world and release that water – plus a host of foreign organisms – into the waters of a different part of the world, disturbing delicate ecosystems.

As reported on All Things Considered last night, New York state is proposing strict new requirements for ships entering its ports.  They will have to have special wastewater treatment facilities onboard to protect NY waters against invasive plants and animals.  Many states are resisting regulating ballast water but it seems that if NY puts a stake in the ground, stricter federal guidelines might not be too far off.…

We’re revealing the top 100 private companies in cleantech on October 17

Whitney Michael

On October 17 -18, the U.S. capital will host the biggest names in cleantech. For the third year in a row, The Global Cleantech 100 will herald the top private companies in clean technology – those consistently leading the way, and exciting newcomers.

And for the first time we are hosting a Summit & Gala to celebrate!  Join us for the live announcement of the 2011 Global Cleantech 100 list and awards presentation at the Global Cleantech 100 Gala hosted at The French Embassy – we’re calling it a “launch party” for the 2011 Global Cleantech 100 list.

Stay for the next day’s Global Cleantech 100 Summit, a full-day conference featuring leading cleantech CEOs, government officials working to facilitate investment in the sector, and key corporate players in the clean technology space.

Don’t miss out on the tremendous networking opportunities with companies like:

Aster Capital

Abundant Power Capital

Agilyx Corporation



Demeter Partners

DuPont Ventures


EnerTech Capital


General Motors Company

GDF Suez

Georgieff Capital

Harvest Power, Inc.*


McKinsey & Company




Siemens Venture Capital



Tangent Energy Solutions

United Water


*2010 Global Cleantech 100 Companies…

Weekly Investment Highlights

Hans Chen

Each week our research team tracks cleantech transactions across the globe. This week we recorded 14 VC/PE deals, eight fund announcements, four M&As, six transactions of other types and two IPO-related stories. Below are some of the highlights.

Venture capital and private equity investments

Over $372 million of venture/private equity fund was raised by 14 cleantech companies, the two largest deals were:

  • Massachusetts-based Boston-Power, a producer of lithium-ion battery technology for the portable power, electric vehicle and utility energy storage markets, raised $125 million from GSR Ventures, Oak Investment Partners, Foundation Asset Management and Chinese government agencies to shift a big part of its business to China.
  • California-based Coda Automotives, a developer of an all-electric sedan as well as lithium-ion battery systems built for automotive and power storage utility applications, closed the Series D round at $147 million, oversubscribed from a target of $125 million.


Eight fund managers made important announcements. Highlights are:

  • Global private equity firm and leveraged buyout specialist KKR announced that it has closed its mezzanine fund, KKR Mezzanine Partners I, with more than $1 billion in commitments. KKR has made several transactions in cleantech recently, including investments in United Envirotech and T-Solar.
  • Banco do Brasil,

Water: Week in Review


General Electric has had quite a busy week with a new contract with Grizzly Oil Sands and the release of two new products (a new LEAPmbr membrane bioreactor wastewater treatment system and a Smallworld Water Office software solution from GE Energy).  To see what other companies have been up to (and for details on GE’s activities), read the articles below:

M&A/ Partnerships

The Post-Solyndra Tug of War


Following Solyndra’s recent sudden collapse in the news has felt like running a marathon.  Apparently the company’s executives are now dodging testimony before Congress.  It’s of course spawned plenty of hyper-partisan attempts to spin the issue every which way but at the end of the day, the high profile failure of a heavily subsidized cleantech company has rightfully inspired an important debate around the issue of energy policy.

In an article in the days following Solyndra’s Chapter 11 announcement, CTG CEO Sheeraz Haji hinted that perhaps Solyndra was simply a high risk bet from the start – a bet on a new form factor (cylindrical cells designed to capture sunlight at any angle of incidence) at the precise moment in history when standard crystalline silicon modules were reaching commodity-status and costs were coming down.  Perhaps the company’s technology will simply go the way of the dinosaurs, and standard flat panels (crystalline silicon or thin film) will have won out.  But when the dust and lawsuits settle, Solyndra’s technology could still  be made available to the world – just under another name and likely via a factory in China.

Now, I hate to disappoint, but this is not going to be …

Event Update: Save on the Global Cleantech 100 Summit and Join us in Korea

Whitney Michael

Two quick updates on upcoming Cleantech Group events.

First, a reminder that today is the last day for early registration savings on the Global Cleantech 100 Summit and Gala.  The Gala is quickly filling up so you’ll want to get a seat quickly.

We’re really excited about the speakers – some of whom (the 2011 Global Cleantech 100 winners) are still under wraps.

New event:  Korea PE & VC Cleantech Forum 2011

We’ve just announced a new investor Forum in Seoul.

The Korean government and Cleantech Group have joined forces to provide the premier investing event in Korea. Held as part of Foreign Investment Week, the Korea PE & VC Cleantech Forum offers global investors the ultimate chance to fully realize the bright potential of investing in a clean Korea. The forum will bring together leading institutional, private equity, venture capital, and cleantech specialists, and government officials to share insight, network and learn of real opportunities.

Read more.


We hope to see you at one of our upcoming events!…

Weekly Investment Highlights

Hans Chen

Each week our research team tracks cleantech transactions across the globe. This week we recorded 20 VC/PE deals, six fund announcements, four M&As, two transactions of other types and one IPO-related stories. Below are some of the highlights.

Venture capital and private equity investments

Over $292 million of venture/private equity fund was raised by 15 cleantech companies, the two largest deals were:

  • California-based Bloom Energy, a developer of solid-oxide fuel cell technology for on-site power generation, raised $150 million from Advanced Equities, Apex Venture Partners, DAG Ventures, Goldman Sachs, GSV Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), Mobius Venture Capital, New Enterprise Associates, and SunBridge Partners.
  • Colorado-based Boulder Wind Power, a developer of a patented direct drive generator for wind turbines, raised $35 million in Series B financing round backed by rare-earth metal provider Molycorp and New Enterprise Associates. The deal makes Molycorp the preferred supplier of rare earth materials to the wind turbine maker.


Six fund managers made important announcements. Highlights are:

  • Tennessee-based Mueller Co., a manufacturer and marketer of infrastructure and flow control products for use in potable water distribution networks and treatment facilities, acquired Florida-based Hydro-Guard, a provider of water quality monitoring solutions in distribution piping.