cleantech insights

The Week in Cleantech – Sept 17-23


Last week saw a few interesting deals in cleantech venture investment, as well as several acquisitions and partnerships.

Silver Spring Networks, the California-based smart grid company sitting on a much-anticipated IPO, announced a planned $12 million private placement with existing investor Foundation Capital. The deal strengthens the likelihood of a successful IPO by signaling Foundation’s commitment to Silver Spring.

Elsewhere in venture investment, Helsinki, Finland based Zen Robotics raised $17 million in growth equity from Invus Group and Lifeline Ventures. ZenRobotics has developed a robotic waste sorting system that is able to increase the amount of material that can be reclaimed for recycling from a mixed waste stream of commercial and industrial waste, municipal solid waste and construction waste. The investment is intended to enable the company’s international expansion, according to the company.

Houston, TX based R360 Environmental Solutions, a provider of oilfield waste recycling and management services, was acquired by Waste Connections for $1.3 billion. The deal provides Waste Connections with access to several natural resource-producing basins in the United States.

Alachua, FL based Pasteuria Bioscience, a developer of an in virto production process for growing a parasitic soil microbe to safely kill nematodes …


The Week in Cleantech – Sept 10-16


We saw an uptick in venture investment in cleantech last week, and by the diversity of deals one might think venture investors the world over had coordinated to diversify one large portfolio and ensure that several important cleantech sectors were receiving funding.

The preceding five weeks had seen an average of nine venture deals done per week with a dollar average of $92 million invested. Last week, however, we tracked 18 venture deals in cleantech for a total coming in just under $200 million.

The top deal of the week went to eco-friendly and energy efficient modular home builder Blu Homes, which raised $60 million in growth equity from Skagen Group, a Dutch investment firm. Blu Homes constructs customers’ homes at it’s facility in Vallejo, CA using sustainable practices ranging from recycled materials to passive home design, then ships the home in pieces to the customer’s site where it is reassembled.

Again, the diversity of deals was what stood out last week, with companies raising capital in cleantech sectors ranging from transportation to water & wastewater to wind power. But also worth noting was the prevalence of early stage deals – an encouraging sign in a trying period …

Meet the experts behind the 2012 Global Cleantech 100

Whitney Michael

With just 18 days left to the announcement of the Global Cleantech 100 in DC, we’d like to shine the spotlight on the panel of over 70 international experts who nominated companies along with hundreds of others and then the 236 who were short listed.

The expert panel is truly global with representatives from the US, Canada, Korea, France, the UK, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, China, Switzerland, Poland, Germany, and Israel.

Our distinguished panel includes a private pilot, a Chevalier de la légion d’honneur, a television show producer, a Fulbright scholar, one of the Clean 16 – a top spot on Canada’s 2012 Clean 50, and one of “China’s Most Powerful People (BusinessWeek, 2009)”.

Without their help, the Global Cleantech 100 would not be possible.  The team at Cleantech Group would like to give them a big thanks and be sure to look for them at the Global Cleantech 100 Summit & Gala in DC on October 1-2.…

What Do We Do?

Tim Barham

Walking around the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, I often receive the standard question: “Where do you work?” This is one of the easiest queries to respond to for anyone, as it illicits a simple, almost robotic, response of “I work for the Cleantech Group”.

However, it is the follow-up question that often proves to be more difficult than one would think.

“What does Cleantech Group do?”

There are certainly catchphrases, buzzwords, and one-line company descriptions that can satisfy this question. Sure, we track investments, M&A, partnerships, and IPOs within what we have dubbed the “clean tech” sector (others prefer to call it “green tech” or “sustainable technology”). Our database, i3, provides an efficient way for investors, cleantech companies, government agencies, corporations, and research institutes to gain invaluable insights into a sector that is, quite simply, difficult to track.

Sure, Cleantech Group also holds the industry’s most exclusive events, along with various innovation roundtables throughout the year with industry leaders. Not only do these events allow for the propagation of fresh ideas and the fostering of creative collaboration, but they also provide for crucial networking opportunities and key introductions.

And finally, we certainly also have incredibly talented industry …

Down with the drought!


Since moving to San Francisco, I stopped keeping track of the seasons.  And every year, I don’t realize it is summer until I start receiving pictures from my friends back in Texas showing me the 100+ degree temperatures, as measured on their car dashboard.




Going hand in hand with the unbearable heat are the severe droughts that Texas has consistently experienced.  With no water to keep temperatures lower comes the problem of no water for people – period.  Last week, nearly 15 heat records were broken in Texas, and last year’s drought has been recorded as one of the worst ever.

Texas has long suffered from extreme droughts.  With no real indication of this being a “phase,” the state is ever more concerned with water scarcity, and is taking action.

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is a funding agency focused on the long term planning for development of water resources in the state.  The way I see it, TWDB has been addressing water scarcity concerns in two of the most useful ways.  The first is the promotion of water reuse, which happens to be the largest focus area for the agency.  In fact, the agency recommends …

The Week in Cleantech – Aug 27 – Sept 2


Last week saw plenty of exciting news in the world of cleantech investment and partnerships, notably so in clean transportation.

ALTe Powertrain Technologies, an Auburn Hills, Michigan based supplier of hybrid and electric vehicle power trains, has become the latest US-based electric vehicle technology developer to turn to China for financial backing and promise of a burgeoning market for its wares. The company has formed a $200 million joint venture with China’s MESA Century Energy Technology to build hybrid electric vehicles for the Chinese market. The deal reportedly includes $70 million in support of ALTe’s US based operations.

Better Place received a EUR40 million loan from the European Investment Bank to fund network deployments and day to day operations in Denmark and Israel. The loan marks the first ever credit facility for Better Place from a large financial institution.

And finally AMP Electric Vehicles, an Ohio based over-the-counter traded electric vehicle manufacturer, secured a commitment for a $7.5 million private growth equity round from Kodiak Capital Group, pending approval from regulators. Kodiak expressed particular interest in AMP’s EV heavy truck fleet vehicle development.

Outside of the transportation sector, insolvent solar cell manufacturer Q-Cells finally found a buyer in …