cleantech insights

Wanxiang’s Purchase of Fisker Highlights Increasing Chinese Cross-Border Investment

Gannon McHenry

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge approved Wanxiang Group’s bid for Fisker Automotive last Tuesday. The deal was a combination offer of cash and equity worth $150 million. Rather than simply incorporating the intellectual property and assets of Fisker into Wanxiang’s existing brands, the company plans to restart production of the Fisker Karma in a matter of months. Wanxiang previously bought the assets of Fisker’s battery supplier, A123 Systems, following its bankruptcy filing in October of 2012. Wanxiang believes the synergies achieved through owning both A123 and Fisker will result in stronger financial and competitive positions for both companies.

Wanxiang’s purchase of Fisker follows a positive trend among Chinese companies, who are increasingly looking outside of their border for potential acquisitions. Following years of little to no international acquisition activity, Chinese companies and investors began to acquire foreign companies at an increasing rate following an off-and-on start in 2008. Following this trend, 2013 was a landmark year in cross border acquisition by Chinese organizations, recording the largest number of deals to date. Hanergy has been a notable prolific foreign investor, scooping up distressed solar companies including MiaSoleSolibro and Global Solar Energy over the past two years. The global …


Consolidating Trends in Downstream Solar

Marie Watanabe

Last week, Vivint Solar, a Utah-based developer of residential solar PV systems, acquired Solmetric, a CA-based manufacturer of PV installation tools and software products, for $12 million. The merger will enable Vivint Solar to offer Solmetric’s flagship products such as SunEye, PV Designer, and PV Analyzer to its customers. The newly added services would help facilitate the pre-installation site assessment and the CAD process, allowing Vivint Solar to provide more comprehensive solutions to savvy solar customers. One of the top competitors, SolarCity, also made a significant move earlier this year when it acquired Common Assets, a CA-based developer of crowd-funding systems. The company offers a web-based investment platform that allows individuals and organizations to invest in solar projects and is expected to attract more individuals and smaller organizations interested in financing solar assets.


solar blog 01302014

In another example to increase market share in solar, Proinso, a Spanish supplier of solar panels and system components, has partnered with OXIS Energy, a UK-based developer of Lithium-ion batteries, to create a new solar energy storage system. The company expects to focus on the grid-connected storage market and plans to roll out the new product this year. These mergers …

Gnest: $3.2 Billion!

Sheeraz Haji

Woa!!! Monday’s announcement of Google’s acquisition of Nest represents not only a key inflection point for cleantech, but also speaks volumes on the increasing importance of customers. The $3.2 billion deal marks a significant milestone for the home automation company; one that many believed the cleantech market couldn’t produce.

Here at Cleantech Group, we believe that the cleantech market is essential, massive, vibrant, and desired. Based on data tracked in i3 (such as investment round amounts and participating investors), insider-sourced information reported publicly about various investor returns, and standard venture-round ownership stakes, it looks like Google’s acquisition of Nest represents a 24x multiple on paid-in capital. Our i3 business is about collecting the best data possible and helping corporate teams and venture investors connect with innovation: the fact that a member of the highest level of management at Nest owns and contributes content to Nest’s i3 profile has been truly motivating to my team working day and night on the i3 platform.


So what can we learn from Nest? Our upcoming Cleantech Forum San Francisco 2014 will discuss just that. Last year, Nest keynoted at the Forum (and went on to win North American Company of the Year at …

This Deal Matters: Glori Energy to Go Public through Reverse Merger


Glori Energy

On Wednesday, news hit the wires that Glori Energy, a company commercializing microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR) technology for water-flooded and otherwise abandoned oil wells, would be taken public through a reverse merger with a company called Infinity Cross Border Acquisition Corp. (hereafter to be refered to as ICBA) in a deal valued at $185 million.

If that name, “Infinity”, inspired the same initial hope in you, dear reader, as it did in me – that ICBA might have the backing of respected private equity firm Infinity Group – well then I bring good news. From the press release announcing the transaction, we learned that ICBA was established, or “sponsored”, by Infinity Group and Hicks Private Equity, the private equity investment vehicle of the family of Thomas O. Hicks.

In the company’s SEC registration statement, ICBA describes itself as, “a blank check company incorporated as a British Virgin Islands business company with limited liability (meaning that [its] public shareholders have no additional liability, as members of [the] company, for the liabilities of [the] company over and above the amount paid for their shares) and formed for the purpose of acquiring, engaging in a share exchange, share reconstruction and amalgamation, …

The Week in Cleantech: Oct. 7 – 13


Here are some of last week’s top stories:

Achates Power raised a $35 million Series C round from existing investors to fund commercialization of its efficient opposed-piston combustion engines. Backers include Sequoia Capital, RockPort Capital Partners, Madrone Capital Partners, Interwest Partners, and Triangle Peak Partners.

Greenwave Reality a California-based developer of home energy monitoring and control solutions, expanded its Series B round with another $8 million, bringing the round total above $19 million. New investor The Westly Group joined the round with existing investor Craton Equity Partners.

Ontario-based waste-to-energy company Anaergia raised CAD $47.5 million ($46 million) in growth equity to help fund new projects. Investors include Macquarie Group, Tandem Expansion Fund, Export Development Canada, and Global H2O Investments

SolarCity made its first foray into the hardware side of the solar business with its $158 million acquisition of Zep Solar, a California-based maker of rooftop PV mounting and racking equipment. SolarCity expects the move to enable it to make its installation process more efficient. Zep had raised $7.4 million from Acquillian Investments.

To dynamically track deal-making activity in clean technology sectors, consider subscribing to our i3 Platform.…

The Week in Cleantech: Sept. 30 – Oct. 4


Monsanto announced last week that it would acquire The Climate Corporation in a deal valued at between $930 million and $1.1 billion. The Climate Corp had raised around $110 million from investors including New Enterprise Associates, Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and Google Ventures.

The week also saw some heightened venture activity, perhaps influenced by the close of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth. Two big deals stood out in the vehicle telematics space:

Telogis, a California-based fleet management solutions provider founded in 2001, raised $93 million in growth capital from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to help it deepen its location-based services platform as it readies for an IPO, possibly next year. And inthinc, a Utah-based player in the fleet management space, raised $24 million from K1 Capital Advisors.

Two other top deals during the week came from the Energy Efficiency space. LED company EcoSense Lighting raised $15 million from Bain Capital and new investor Flagship Ventures, while Sefaira, a developer of cloud-based efficiency software for building architects, raised $9.2 million – $7.2 million in equity from Braemar Energy Ventures, Chrysalix SET, and Hermes GPE, and $2 …

The Week in Cleantech: September 16-22

i3 Research Team

Cleantech celebrated the last week of the summer with a number of funding rounds and relationships sprinkled with a bit of bad news. Starting with the less than positive news, ECOtality, the California vendor of electric vehicle supply equipment, has filed for Chapter 11 protection and is seeking to auction off its assets.

On the sunny side, Veremiun, a California developer of high-performance enzymes for us in industrial processes, was acquired by BASF for €48 million (~$62 million). The move will help BASF take on DuPont and Novozymes in the industrial enzyme market. In another instance of a large corporate making waves in this space, Google has purchased the entire output of the 240 MW Happy Hereford wind farm from Chermac Energy. Google will purchase the energy, retire the renewable energy credits and then resell the power on the wholesale market. Another energy generation project inked this week was Pelamis Wave Power and Aquamarine Power working together to develop the largest tidal project in Europe.

On the funding front, eSolar led with the biggest round of the week, raising $22 million from Oak Investment Partners to aid eSolar’s expansion into the MENA region. Cool Planet Energy Systems

The Week in Cleantech: July 8 – 14


Intrexon, a developer of synthetic biology technology solutions for industries including biofuels and agriculture, filed for a $125 million IPO to be listed on the NYSE. The company, founded in 1998, recently raised $150 million in private capital in the second quarter, the majority of which came from undisclosed new investors.

In another piece of positive news for the biofuels space, Heliae, an Arizona-based developer of algae production technologies, raised $28.4 million in growth equity from Salim Group, the Mars Family, and Thomas J. Edelman. The financing will be used to support the operation and expansion of Heliae’s first commercial facility in Arizona.

BiOWiSH Technologies, a Chicago-based maker of composite biocatalysts with applications breaking down organic material in agronomy, aquaculture, wastewater treatment and consumer products industries, raised $11.7 million from Jado Investments and Saturn Partners.

Smart lighting company Redwood Systems was acquired for an undisclosed amount by CommScope, a global provider of network equipment and services. Redwood had raised more than $34 million from Battery Ventures, Index Ventures, US Venture Partners, and Mitsui.

The assets of Tioga Energy, a commercial rooftop solar developer which announced in the second quarter that …

The Week in Cleantech: July 1 – 7


The first week of the third quarter brought significant deal-making activity in cleantech, despite the U.S. Independence Day holiday. Most noteworthy were a few deals involving some venture exits:

ecoATM, a maker of electronics recycling kiosks that had raised just over $30 million in venture capital from investors including Claremont Creek Ventures, was acquired by Outerwall, maker of Coinstar money-changing kiosks, for $350 million. Outerwall had also been a strategic investor in the company.

There was also a flurry of IPO news during the week. French industrial wastewater treatment company Orege listed its IPO on the Euronext Paris exchange, raising EUR20 million ($26 million) in a transaction that values the company at around EUR60 million. Orege is backed by Climate Change Capital and Oraxys.

And in the U.S., two cleantech companies filed for $60 million IPOs during the week. Control4, a Salt Lake City, UT-based maker of building energy management and control systems toward energy efficiency, is backed by Foundation Capital, Cisco, GSV Capital, and others. Marrone Bio Innovations, a Davis, CA-based developer of natural weed, pest, and disease management products for plants and crops, is backed by Calvert Investments, …

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 …