cleantech insights

As Goes LanzaTech, so Goes Cleantech

Greg Neichin

If you are in the cleantech sector and had not previously heard about Lanzatech, you likely have now.  The company raised a big, $55.8M round last week that has been widely applauded and covered.  Students of the company had seen this coming for awhile.  Lanzatech was the highest ranking company in the Asia Pacific region in our Cleantech 100 survey earning it “APAC Company of the Year” at our gala banquet last year.  It was featured as part of GTM’s Trendspotting post on the Top 12 Greentech Startups to Watch in 2012.   We’ve made Lanzatech our featured “Company of the Week” in i3 this week, but it may just turn out to be cleantech’s company of the year (and its only January!).  Here are the top reasons that I think Lanzatech exemplifies a number of key themes happening in cleantech:

1.) Cross-Border Financings – I have previously written about Chinese and Korean investors taking large stakes in Western cleantech companies.  Now we can add the Malaysians to that list.  The round was led by the Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund and included participation from Malaysian state oil company, Petronas.  With the US venture community still experiencing …


Water: Week in Review


Abu Dhabi showed heavy involvement in water this week, with the announced completion of 22 solar desalination projects and the hosting of a delegation of water and wastewater industry experts from the UK.  These events come on the heels of the World Future Energy Summit held in Abu Dhabi, where the emirate explained its plan to take a “comprehensive and holistic approach” to water security over the next 1-2 years.  Details on these events and more can be found below.

M&A/ Partnerships

Why I believe 2012 will be a record year for cleantech innovation financing

Sheeraz Haji

The death of cleantech venture capital has been greatly exaggerated. Yes, there were a few massive failures in 2011, and of course it’s been difficult for a number of cleantech venture capitalists to raise funds. However, cleantech did not implode, and neither did venture capital.

On our recent Quarterly Investment Monitor webinar I predicted 2012 will be a record year not realizing this was a particularly bold claim. However, judging by the number of comments I have received from clients and colleagues, I am realizing this may be a contrarian view. Here’s my rationale:

1) Math – We tabulated just under $9 billion in global cleantech venture investments in 2011. Since 2005, cleantech venture investment has increased each year excepts for 2008 to 2009 when we experienced the mother of all economic crises. On average, cleantech venture investments have grown 26% per year since 2005. If we use this average rate to extrapolate, we will see $11.3 billion in 2012. That’s a pretty big step up from the current record year – 2008 which saw $9.5 billion.

2) I believe we will see a couple of rock-star IPO’s in 2012 and this will drive renewed enthusiasm in cleantech and specific …

Cleanweb NYC Hackathon: Top 3 Unsung Winners

Greg Neichin

On the same weekend that the Giants broke the 49ers hearts, Sunil Paul playfully added some insult to injury in the bicoastal rivalry by declaring, “New York has stepped up with an event [cleanweb hackathon] that is, dare I say, bigger than San Francisco.”  And while, as a true bicoastal executive, I have no interest in stoking the cliché Silicon Valley v. Silicon Alley fire, we can safely say that New York represented this past weekend.

The New York cleanweb hackathon organizers, which included Sunil, Blake Burris of Dynamo Labs, Micah Kotch from NYC ACRE, Nicholas Eisenberger of Pure Energy Partners, Matt Solt of Civvic, and a number of others, put on a great show and took a big step forward in evangelizing the cleanweb movement.  Judging by the turnout, the “cleanweb”, the increasingly popular term for applying IT solutions to global resource constraint problems, is a hit amongst the East Coast digerati (even meriting an appearance by NYC’s trendminting venture capitalist Fred Wilson, who had previously cast off cleantech as an entirely separate form of VC).

There were a number of awards presented at the end of the event to standout teams (check out …

Google this.


Latitude SolutionsI googled “electro-precipitation” the other day, and here is what I found:  one link to a dictionary, two wikipedia entries, three research articles, and four links or news stories related to Latitude Solutions.  That’s right – four!  Not only did Latitude Solutions account for 40% of the top ten google results, but it was the only electro-precipitation company mentioned.  Naturally, I spoke to someone at the company to find out more…

Latitude Solutions provides products, processes and solutions for contaminated water remediation in industrial applications.  Made up of three different divisions, the company manages to target multiple industries in multiple geographic markets.

The first business unit I learned about was Latitude Solutions Energy Services, which is dedicated solely to the oil and gas industry.  The company’s technology uses electro-precipitation to flocculate Total Suspended Solids (TSS) at up to 98% efficacy, according to the company.  What separates this method from traditional coagulation methods is that currents from the electro-precipitation process remain in the treated water, thereby continuing to treat the water in the event it is transported to another location for discharge or reuse.

Latitude Industrial Water Solutions, a second subsidiary, targets industries outside of oil and gas.  Specifically, …

Water: Week in Review


In addition to the normal flow of M&A, investment activity, projects, and technology introductions, the last two weeks have put water scarcity concerns in the limelight.  Not only is water scarcity expected to be one of the main barriers to growth for India in the upcoming years, but Trillium Asset Management is calling out companies that don’t yet focus on factoring water risk into their bottom line.  It’s a good thing we also saw a new report on water reuse and how it may even be healthier for us than drinking water – it’s a sustainable water source that we can’t (and shouldn’t!) run away from.  Read below for details on these stories and more:

M&A/ Partnerships

Want 10 minutes on stage at Cleantech Forum San Francisco? Apply by Friday the 13th!

Kate McArdle

By now you’ve probably heard about the hundreds of investors and corporate executives that will be at Cleantech Forum San Francisco. And you’ve probably read about how Avantium met its lead investor on a subsequent EUR 30M Series B funding round, after presenting in the Entrepreneur Showcase at Cleantech Forum Paris. And you probably know that there’s no cost to apply to the (short and sweet) Entrepreneur Showcase application.

So I’ll get right to the point: tomorrow, Friday, January 13 is the deadline for applications for this year’s Entrepreneur Showcase at Cleantech Forum San Francisco. The application (and more details, in case you’ve missed them) is available here:

Whether your company is seeking a Series A or Series D funding round, whether it is based in Boston or Madrid, whether it has a SaaS-based energy efficiency platform or a process to reuse wastewater, there’s no better place for exposure to top cleantech investors than at Cleantech Forum San Francisco.…

AlertMe, Lowe’s, and the role of retail channels in the smart grid

Tatum Nolan

AlertMe’s recent announcement of its partnership with Lowe’s marks an important milestone in the industry’s efforts to extend smart grid functionality to end users. The partnership could represent a new strategy for companies with good channel access to customers.

For the last few years, home energy management system (HEMS) vendors have debated whether customer-facing smart grid technology should reach homes by way of top down utility deployments, or by way of retail channels. Each strategy has presented opportunities and obstacles: The top down approach would guarantee mass deployment, but utilities have generally moved slowly in rolling out hardware-based solutions to customers.  By contrast, if consumers could select their own HEMS through retailers, early adoption would drive innovation and lead to market-based (rather than utility-selected) winners and losers, but utility integration would not be assured. The announcement of this partnership, combined with Best Buy’s own commitment to selling HEMS products, indicate that retailers are staking a claim to this market.

But Lowe’s consumer smart grid strategy differs from Best Buy’s. Rather than providing a market place for various HEMS products from vendors such as Tendril, EnergyHub, or Control4, Lowe’s has announced that it will sell its own solution, …

When Water and Electricity Mix: Taking Smart Water to the Next Level


Cleantech Forum San Francisco 2012Registration is currently open for the 10th anniversary of the Cleantech Forum San Francisco 2012.  Our theme this year is “The Power of Global Partnerships,” an exploration of how strategic relationships – between entrepreneurs, corporations and governments – are playing an ever more important role in the future of clean technology.  Join us for a special water panel titled “When Water and Electricity Mix: Taking Smart Water to the Next Level,” where we will talk to CEOs from different companies involved in the water-energy nexus, and their partners.

At the Forum, we will also hold our annual Entrepreneur Showcase, an event that is typically a big opportunity for in-person exposure to active cleantech investors (with proven success in the past – see this case study).  The deadline for applications is January 13; there is no cost to apply and the application should only take a few minutes to fill out. You can find it, and all of the details, here.

Arti Patel is a Research & Advisory Analyst at Cleantech Group.

Cleantech Investment Totals Strong in 2011

Hans Chen

The preliminary 4Q and FY 2011 results for clean technology venture investments around the globe suggested that the future is still bright for cleantech after a somewhat turbulent year. Total VC investments in cleantech totaled $8.99 billion for the entire year, a robust 13% increase from 2010. The 4Q total also finished strong at $2.06 billion, capping a second half shadowed by Solyndra et al’s downfall and economic uncertainties around the globe.

Solar, energy efficiency and transportation were the top three sectors invested. Solar topped in amount invested ($1.81 billion), followed by energy efficiency ($1.46 billion) and Transportation ($1.12 billion). Energy efficiency was the most popular sector measured by number of deals, with 150 funding rounds, ahead of solar (111 deals) and energy storage (61 deals). As for regional distribution, investments in North America grew to $6.81 billion (+31% from 2010) while Europe & Israel took a step back at $1.30 billion (-30% from 2010).

In the public markets, China remained strong for cleantech IPOs. 28 of the 51 IPOs in 2011 came out of China, led by several massive offerings by large renewable energy corporations. Cleantech mergers & acquisitions reached record highs in 2011 with 391 deals and a …