cleantech insights

yerdle: Exploring Decentralization at Cleantech Forum San Francisco 2014

M Paschich

On March 11-13, Cleantech Group is hosting the largest and longest running Cleantech forum in the world, Cleantech Forum San Francisco 2014. This annual gathering of the global cleantech innovation community offers a comprehensive development program along with exclusive opportunities to network and make deals happen. In the lead up to the Forum, we’re chatting with leaders across the resource innovation space to discuss the changes decentralization is causing across different markets, end-users, enterprises, technologies, and business models. Yerdle2

Andy Rubin is Co-founder and CEO of yerdle.

What is the essence of yerdle’s story?

The idea of yerdle starts in our closets and garages: all of the high quality items we collectively own are perfectly good to someone else even if we, the current owners, are done with those items. This is not a fundamentally different idea, but the way that yerdle is bringing this market and community together, that’s what’s extraordinary. Yerdle grants shoppers access–through information and through mobile–to the collective warehouse that is all of our closets and garages.

The push for me to help start yerdle came from my 20 year experience in retail. The last 10 were spent as a senior executive at Walmart, and included …


Energy innovation opens doors for the world’s 1.3B “energy-poor”

Josh Seidenfeld

InterSolar is on this week in San Francisco. While it’s been a rough year for the upstream folks, and the tradeshow floor may have a New-Year’s-Day-hangover feel about it (notable exception: the focus on the burgeoning energy storage field), some bright spots emerge. As I nurse my own hangover from last night’s Solar Battle of the Bands, I’m reflecting on a terrific side-event that featured some of the world’s most exciting energy innovators.

The Bay Area Energy Access Working Group (a name only an engineer could love) yesterday convened entrepreneurs blazing pathways out of energy poverty. The group, hosted by at Google’s San Francisco offices, shared new approaches to delivering energy services to some of the 1.3 billion energy-poor people across the globe. New financial tools, new communication technologies, and new business models drive energy innovation in the developing world just as they do in the rich world. The event’s three panels addressed these drivers.

Finance innovation might be the most important current development. Many of the technologies used to deliver life-altering energy services to off-grid, rural communities have long been established. Solar lanterns come to mind. Now, though, we require the money to deploy these technologies at scale. …

A “disruptive” blog post…


The term “disruptive” is thrown around by just about everyone these days – investors, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and even Cleantech Group!  I fear the word is doomed to follow the same projected path of the word “sustainability”…   Before heading too far down that road, I’d like to get in my two cents on some of the water technologies I perceive to be “disruptive” in today’s world.

  • Amoeba.  A majority of commercial and industrial cooling tower operators have used the same [chemical] treatment system for decades and are hesitant to try anything new, even in the face of rising water and energy costs.  Many alternative treatment systems have been on the market for over a decade, but market penetration has been slow.  Non-oxidizing agents such as biocides, though more expensive, are increasingly being tested and talked about.
  • Axine Water Technologies.  According to data tracked through i3, over a quarter (27%) of venture capital dollars in the first half of 2012 went to companies providing solutions primarily applicable to industrial water users.  The growing presence and importance of this consumer segment stems from concerns around toxicity of wastewater streams, the use of treatment chemicals (and potential creation of byproducts), discharge

The Week in Cleantech – Sept 24 – 30


An exciting week in cleantech wrapped up the third quarter last week, with several companies raising private capital and several interesting partnerships formed.

Fisker Automotive, which speculated as recently as August about completing an initial public offering in 2013, raised $103 million in a private growth equity round from existing investors. It is the third round of growth equity funding the company has raised in 2012 amid recalls of its first model, the Karma, and struggles to secure the right CEO.

Tesla, another maker of electrified vehicles but already a public one, announced it would seek to raise up to $221 million in a third public offering of its shares. The company has struggled to generate demand for its high-end EVs, while also having difficulty meeting production quotas for those customers who have pre-reserved vehicles.

Several cleantech startups raised Seed or Series A rounds during the week. Brisbane Materials, an Australian company developing advanced coating materials for the solar PV industry among others, raised $5.2 million from New Venture Partners and Southern Cross Venture Partners. Other companies raising early stage equity during the week (For brevity’s sake, I’ll list the company along with its (sector), and …

2012 Global Cleantech 100 list announced!

Whitney Michael

We’ve just released this year’s list of the top 100 private companies in cleantech.  From energy efficiency, biofuels & biochemicals to smart grid, renewable energy, water and waste, and transportation, this list identifies the private cleantech companies most likely to make a significant market impact over the next five to ten years.

To qualify for the Global Cleantech 100, companies must be independent, for-profit, cleantech companies not listed on any major stock exchange. This year, we received over 8,000 nominations for 5,117 companies from 85 countries. A 75-member expert panel, including leading global investors and a wide range of corporate executives from multi-national enterprises such as ABB, BP, Ecolab, GE, General Motors, IBM, Intel, Johnson Controls, Procter and Gamble, and Vestas, gave input on the shortlisted 236, to get to the final list of 100 companies from 13 countries.

Cleantech Group also presented awards in eight categories to clean technology innovators at the Global Cleantech 100 Gala at the Italian Embassy in Washington, DC on October 1.

Company of the Year was awarded in each of three regions to the highest-ranked company with no negative …

Where are they now? Rising Stars of the 2011 Global Cleantech 100

Sara Strope

Nine months ago, we unveiled the 2011 Global Cleantech 100 list at a Gala dinner in Washington, DC. These 100 innovators were identified as trailblazers delivering the very best clean technology solutions, companies that, according to the collective judgment of the world’s cleantech industry insiders, were the most likely to make the most significant market impact over the next 5-10 years.

Now in its fourth year, the Global Cleantech 100 has seen some familiar names from year to year, with companies that continue to prove their potential. But, fresh innovation is not to be overlooked.  Last October we heard from 4 companies that were new to the list: RelayRides, SCIenergy, Transphorm, and Voltea.  How have these companies changed over the past ten months?  Have they continued to forge ahead?  Watch the slide show below to get the details…the answer is a resounding YES!

2011 rising stars now from cleantechgroup


Video: Company of the Week is Aqwise

Whitney Michael

Analyst Troy Ault explains why we chose Aqwise to be the company of the week:…

Digital Solutions to Building Efficiency: Exploring a Cleantech VC Bright Spot

kerry cebul

The preliminary release of our 2Q12 numbers confirmed what many have been talking about for months…significantly lower global cleantech VC investment by both deal count and dollar amount.

Yet, the Energy Efficiency sector remains a bright spot amidst the gloomy discussions of shakeouts and a transition away from the term “cleantech.” And, as both VCs and corporate strategics reassess the broader cleantech landscape and refine their approaches, there is renewed interest in understanding the potential of this continuing bright spot. As Rob Day of Black Coral Capital put it in this great review of the numbers yesterday, “even while the overall cleantech sector is in a down period, it’s clearly still an exciting time to be investing in energy efficiency and related plays.”

Within energy efficiency, digital solutions to building efficiency continues to be a particular area of investor and entrepreneur interest. From enterprise energy management and lighting control systems, to remote auditing and benchmarking, entrepreneurs and investors are developing scalable digital solutions to tackle the building efficiency market. Some of the industry’s hottest companies like Redwood Systems, Gridium, Adura Technologies, Vigilent and essess have raised recent rounds from some of the industry’s top investors including Draper …

This week in cleantech – May 27th – June 3rd

Whitney Michael

It was a strong and diverse week for cleantech venture investment. CIGS thin film PV manufacturer Nanosolar‘s $50 million growth equity round led the pack, and continued a trend from the previous two weeks of bullishness in the solar sector despite real geo-political, and economic challenges. In addition to Nanosolar’s big round, Austin, Texas-based solar microinverter maker SolarBridge Technologies raised $25 million in a Series D offering, while GeoStellar, a West Virginia-based provider of solar resource analytics software for distributed projects, raised $13.9 million in a Series B round of equity.

Solar companies weren’t allowed a monopoly on fundraising, however, as several other sectors saw financing deals during the week as well.

Vancouver, Canada-based Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, a developer of a wastewater treatment process which yields a fertilizer byproduct, raised $14.5 million in a Series B round of financing to expand the application of that technology into industrial markets.

In the Energy Efficiency space, lighting controls developer Redwood Systems raised $11.75 million from existing investors in a Series C round, while Rhode Island-based GreenBytes raised $12 million in a Series B offering to fund further development and global marketing of its data center efficiency offering.

Finally, …

Ten top picks for this year’s Cleantech Forum San Francisco

Whitney Michael

Cleantech Forum San Francisco kicks off in just about a month at the Hyatt Regency on the beautiful Embarcadero.  We can only hope the gorgeous weather we’ve been having will hold out for another four weeks!  I don’t believe I’m exaggerating (or bragging) when I say this is going to be our biggest and best conference ever.

While the two and a half days are packed from morning to night with networking, interesting speakers, and activities, I want to share my top 10 reasons you should go now and register.  Save $300 too with discount code CTSFBLOG.

1. Real deals, real senior executives, real networking.  You attend conferences to meet others actively in search of deals, investments, and partnership opportunities. It’s kind of what Cleantech Forum San Francisco is known for. Top executives, investors and entrepreneurs travel from all around the world to meet, make deals, and set the agenda for the year ahead.

2. Entrepreneurial pitch sessions are so popular, even entrepreneurs with loads of capital still want in!  20 hand-selected entrepreneurs seeking funding pitch during Tuesday’s Entrepreneur Showcase. Companies include LanzaTech (which just recently closed a $50M+ investment), Atmosphere Recovery, and ReVolt.

3. This