| May 20th 2013
Last week we saw a flurry of activity in cleantech, from venture capital to project finance and big M&A news. In the realm of distributed solar project financing, SolarCity, which held its initial public offering in December, secured $500 million in project funding from Goldman Sachs. The deal constitutes the largest such lease-financing for residential solar to date.
In VC, Efficient Energy, a German developer of innovative and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems for both industrial and home/commercial building applications, raised EUR 15 million ($19.5 million) from Santo Venture Capital (Brothers Thomas and Andreas Strüngmann), MIG Fonds, and private investor Cornel Lindemann-Berk.
After withdrawing its planned IPO in the fourth quarter of 2012, oilfield tech company Glori Energy has secured its latest round of private financing. The $12.8 million in new equity capital is supposed to have come from existing investors, including GTI Ventures, Oxford Bioscience Partners, Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, and OMZEST Group. Glori Energy is commercializing its ‘Activated Environment for the Recovery of Oil’, or AERO technology, which seeks to extend the productive life of water-flooded oilfields previously thought to be tapped out.
In M&A, we saw the consolidation …
| May 13th 2013
Last week was not short on activity in venture-backed clean technology. Venture investment was led by one big deal: Bloom Energy, a maker of natural gas-powered solid oxide fuel cells for distributed commercial power generation that has hinted at a public offering later in the year, raised $130 million more in venture capital from Credit Suisse and another unidentified new investor. Existing investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Enterprise Associates, DAG Ventures, and others.
Minnesota-based BioAmber became the first company in over a year to successfully complete an initial public offering in the biofuels / biochemicals space. The company manufactures biochemicals for agricultural applications, and specializes in bio-based succinic acid as a direct replacement for the petroleum-derived version. BioAmber sweetened the deal for investors, offering common shares along with warrants to purchase additional shares in the future at the offering price. The offering still went through at the low end of the planned range, at $10 per unit, however.
There were a couple significant acquisitions made during the week, as well, including two in the smart thermostat/home energy efficiency industry: First, smart thermostat maker Nest announced its acquisition of MyEnergy (formerly Earth Aid), an …
| May 6th 2013
Last week opened with more news in cleantech fundraising. After an initial close of $60 million back in Q1, long-time cleantech investor SJF Ventures held a final close of its third fund at an oversubscribed $90 million. All-cleantech funds have been scarce recently, but the first quarter saw an uptick, including funds raised by The Westly Group, Israel Cleantech Ventures, and others.
NEA and NGEN Partners put $6 million into Canadian solar-as-a-service start-up Pure Energies, betting that the Ontario feed-in-tariff program will provide a profitable market. Pure Energies last year acquired One Block Off the Grid (1BOG), which NEA had also invested in.
Pixelligent Technologies, a producer of a product family of nanocrystal dispersions with diverse applications in electronics and renewable energy, among others, raised $5 million in new equity from existing investor Abell Foundation. The company intends to use the funds to accelerate the scaling-up of its manufacturing capacity (in Baltimore, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) and to hire application, engineering, and business development focused employees.
Meanwhile, the week was full of new partnerships across diverse sectors. New York utility Consolidated Edison (ConEd) is to pilot Eos Energy Storage‘s zinc-air battery technology for grid …
| April 29th 2013
Last week was an exciting one in the world of clean technology. We saw a couple really interesting acquisitions, with grid infrastructure giant ABB buying Power-One, air pollution controls company CECO Environmental acquiring Met-Pro Corporation, and water metering major Badger Meter acquiring a pre-revenue, venture-backed startup called Aquacue.
There were also several companies receiving venture capital during the week. Fertilizer-from-wastewater technology company Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, a Canadian company, raised its latest round, bringing in $13 million in new equity capital from VantagePoint Capital Partners, Frog Capital, and new investor Wheatsheaf Investments. Wheatsheaf is part of a portfolio of businesses held by the estate of Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster in the U.K.
Hydrostor, also a Canadian company and pursuing underwater compressed air energy storage (CAES) technology for power firming at offshore wind farms, raised $2 million in its Series A round from the MaRS Cleantech Fund and private investors. CAES competitors including General Compression and SustainX would seem to have a jump on Hydrostor, though none, to our knowledge, have to date pursued underwater applications of the technology.
And perhaps the most noteworthy investment we saw last week was …
| April 22nd 2013
It was an exciting week in cleantech. Lighting control system maker Enlighted raised $20 million in new venture capital, more than doubling its paid-in-capital to date. New investor RockPort Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by existing investors KPCB, DFJ, and Intel Capital. DFJ JAIC, a Japan-focused member of the DFJ Global Network, was also a new investor in the round. The startup announced that its systems have now been deployed in 10 million square feet of commercial building space, which is double what it had reported just five months ago.
Continuing a big trend in the clean transportation sub-sector, yet another car-sharing startup has raised venture capital. This time it’s a company newly on our radar, called FlightCar, with a $5 million series A round from Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst Partners, First Round Capital, and others. It’s one of eleven such companies to have raised money since the start of 2012 (we’ll let you discover the others through our powerful cleantech taxonomy), though FlightCar has a unique angle – providing its service to a nicely captive market at airports. The company enables travelers to avoid or offset long-term …
| April 14th 2013
The world of venture-backed clean technology rolled on last week with several big deals. Distributed solar financing company Clean Power Finance closed on a $37 million round of growth equity, with new investor Edison International and two other “major power sector companies” joining existing investors in the round. The investment follows two big VC rounds into OneRoof Energy and Sungevity, two similarly focused downstream solar financing companies, in the first quarter.
Other venture financings during the week included Ideol, a developer of a floating wind turbine platform capable of minimizing wake induced loses to other nearby turbines when the wind changes; Cooltech Applications, a developer of an energy-efficient magnetic refrigeration technology for industrial use; and Cymbet Corporation, a developer of thin-film batteries for semiconductors and electronic products. Demeter Partners was an investor in both Ideol’s and Cooltech Applications’ rounds.
First Solar‘s share price soared midweek on positive earnings projections and news that the company had acquired TetraSun, a developer of monocrystalline silicon solar cell technology that boosts the conversion efficiency of photons into electrons.
There was also a bit of IPO news during the week. BioAmber, a manufacturer of green chemicals from agricultural …
| April 8th 2013
It was an exciting week in cleantech, with several rounds of venture financing raised by startup companies. Aquion Energy, a developer of batteries based on ambient-temperature sodium-ion technology and targeting the grid energy storage market, led headlines with a $35 million round led by Bright Capital, and with participation from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital, and others.
In the energy efficiency sector, two companies raised sizable rounds for their technology offerings, which target efficiency alternatively in data centers and visual displays. QD Vision, a developer of a quantum dot technology that it says delivers increased color and brightness and requires less power than current LED technologies, raised $11.7 million from investors including Highland Capital Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners. On the data center efficiency side, Rhode Island-based GreenBytes reeled in $7 million in new equity capital from Battery Ventures and Generation Investment Management.
There were also several interesting company relationships formed during the week. Among them, one that stood out was the announcement from Amyris that it would expand its partnership with French energy company Total, forming a joint venture by the end of 2013 to market biodiesel and jet …
| April 1st 2013
Concentrating solar power (CSP) plant developer eSolar led headlines last week with news that it’s raised $12.8 million out of a hoped-for $30 million growth round. The company is betting on the power-smoothing ability of its molten salt thermal storage technology, as well as its strategic partnership with natural gas power giant GE, to prove the economic viability of its solar power tower plants at a time when project developers are increasingly turning to cheaper PV.
Cellulosic ethanol producer Mascoma became the latest biofuels company to withdraw a planned IPO. In the past year, a veritable flock of biofuels producers have done so, including Enerkem, Fulcrum Bioenergy, Coskata, Genomatica, and Elevance. Macoma is backed by several prominent VCs, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and VantagePoint, as well as strategic investors including General Motors and Valero.
Elsewhere in venture capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers raised eyebrows with its latest energy-related investment, in a $4 million Series A round co-invested with Stephens Capital into Choose Energy. The company is an energy retailer focused on deregulated markets like Texas, and offers consumers choices like power procured partially or wholly from renewable sources.
| March 25th 2013
The cleantech community gathered in San Francisco last week, with entrepreneurs, investors, corporates, and country delegations from around the globe descending on the city by the bay for our eleventh annual Cleantech Forum. We hope you won’t mind us shamelessly tooting our own horn, but this year’s Forum was one of our best. Distinguished speakers including former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Google’s Rick Needham, and outside-the-box architect William McDonough gave inspiring speeches, while sector-focused panels and investor pitch sessions occasioned important face-to-face meetings between clean technology innovators and the folks with the capital needed to scale the technologies and business models at the cutting edge. We hope you’ll join us April 16-18 at Cleantech Forum Europe in Bilbao for more of the same. Register today!
Congratulations to Sunfunder, winner of the ‘Cleantech Goes Social” Facebook App contest, and Tellus Technology, winner of the Entrepreneur Showcase investor pitch sessions!
The party didn’t stop deals from getting done, as we saw several exciting announcements during the week. The Westly Group announced the close of a new $160 million all-cleantech venture capital fund, constituting a doubling-down on the sector just as many VCs are turning away. Israeli venture firm Terra …
| March 18th 2013
Last week was an exciting one in the world of clean technology. The long awaited initial public offering of smart grid networking company Silver Spring Networks was held on Wednesday at $17 per share, the midpoint of the planned range, generating $81 million in net proceeds. The IPO was oversubscribed, with Silver Spring issuing around 1 million more shares than it had planned. Following on the back of SolarCity’s IPO in December, Silver Spring’s successful float represented more good news for the sector, showing continuing improvement in public markets’ appetite for cleantech stocks.
Suntech Power, one of the world’s largest producers of solar panels, was acquired in a bailout scenario by its local municipal government in China. Wuxi Guolian Development Group, the state-owned holding company of China’s Wuxi province, came to the distressed solar company’s rescue after the global over-supply of silicon and panels took their toll on this manufacturing giant.
In venture capital, several companies raised rounds during the week. From the Energy Efficiency sector, Alphabet Energy raised $16 million in a Series B round from Canadian natural gas producer Encana, Claremont Creek Ventures, TPG Biotech, and the California Clean Energy Fund. Alphabet Energy …