cleantech insights

This Deal Matters: LanzaTech Raises $60 Million; Corporate Investors Committed to Technology Innovations

Leo Zhang

lanzatechLanzaTech, the Illinois-based technology developer of waste gas fermentation to liquid fuels and chemicals, announced it has raised $60 million in its first close of Series D growth equity round. Mitsui & Co., a leading Japanese multi-industry conglomerate, led the round with a $20 million investment. Given the current difficult capital raising market, this deal is also significant in a sense that it has attracted both new and existing investors. Two new investors, Siemens Venture Capital and China International Capital Corporation, joined the round to further develop LanzaTech’s core gas fermentation platform and increase the company’s product portfolio.

Recall Cleantech Forum San Francisco 2014 on the theme of accelerating system change towards a decentralized future, during which LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren presented her company’s approach in collaborating with larger corporates to create a synergy between innovations and corporate resources. Combing LanzaTech’s core technology with corporations’ existing infrastructures, this technology platform can empower the decentralized production of renewable fuels and chemicals using existing local waste resources.

Given LanzaTech’s current commercial facilities, in addition to this latest round of investment, we are confident and excited to see additional progress in the future. Stay tuned via Cleantech Group’s i3 Platform for …


Web-Based Recycling: a Consumer-Centric Approach to Waste

Leo Zhang

The cleanweb theme has received positive attention from venture capital and corporate investors in its innovating business model of connecting cleantech innovation with the web. Recall Cleantech Group’s Cleanweb and the City event (and associated White Paper), which highlighted some of the latest innovations in urban mobility, waste management, and energy management.  Drilling down on how cleanweb has impacted the Recycling & Waste sector, let’s look at the Web-Based Recycling subsector, the investment trends and some of the leading companies in this space. As the chart below illustrates, the web-based recycling sector attracted a series of equity investments, including several mega deals in 2008.


Let’s take a closer look at the latest innovations on web-based recycling:

Recyclebank, the New York-based developer of a financial rewards system for household recycling, is working towards the ultimate goal of changing conusmer’s behavior in an effort to increase their recycling effort.

Gazelle, the Massachusettes-based provider of an online recommerce service, allows consumers to easily recycle and get paid for their used electronics. In addition, ReCellular, the Michigan-based online marketplace, is also working on similar projects.

thredUP, the California-based provider of an online platform for used clothing, allows consumers to …

A decentralized manifesto

Sheeraz Haji

Cleantech startups are disrupting global industries. Not in ten years. Not in five years. Today. We are observing fundamental shifts in many key segments of the economy. New technologies and business models are turning things upside down. Right now. These significant system changes have inspired the theme for Cleantech Forum San Francisco 2014: Accelerating system change; towards a decentralized future. Let me elaborate.

The economy is experiencing a fundamental shift from centralized to distributed systems. Consumers are gaining power and are decentralizing decisions and processes. This is causing a massive change in customer experiences, and placing incumbent business models at risk. This change is remarkable, and the pace of this change is accelerating.

Examples are all around us.

Let’s start with energy. Consumers all over the world are increasingly opting to buy energy from Solar City or Solairedirect instead of their local utility. Big companies like Walmart are getting off the grid in order to improve business reliability, increase flexibility, and hedge energy prices: the retail giant is partnering with Solar City and Tesla for a combined solar panel + energy storage deployment. Data centers have joined the trend. Microsoft (who will be speaking at Cleantech Forum

The Week in Cleantech: Oct. 28 – Nov. 3


A note to regular readers of this blog – this will be our final “The Week in Cleantech” post. Beginning next week, in an effort to bring you more focused content on specific clean technology sectors, we’ll begin posting highlights of specific deals and why they matter in relation to a broader sector. Now, let’s look at some highlights from last week:

eRecycling CorpsPerhaps influenced by the successful exit of ecoATM in July by investors including Claremont Creek Ventures and Tao Venture Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Silver Lake Kraftwerk last week pumped $105 million in Series C growth capital into eRecyclingCorps, a company similarly pursuing incentivized recycling of personal electronics. Instead of setting up a network of kiosks, however, eRecyclingCorps builds trade-in programs in partnership with the all largest mobile phone carriers. Founded in 2009, the company, which also counts SJF Ventures and NGEN Partners as investors, has said it intends to use the funds to support potential acquisitions, geographic expansion and new products and services.

Harvest AutomationThe Agriculture sector again proved to be on the minds of venture investors last week as Harvest Automation, a Massachusetts-based developer of robotic technology for agricultural applications, raised …

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: September 9-15

i3 Research Team

Cleantech startups cleaned up this week, with a number of venture rounds closed. Enlighted, Recovery Technology Solutions, Isotrak, Plaxica, Space-Time Insight and Engineered Carbon Solutions all raised venture rounds. In addition, SolarCity received $124 million in Project Finance from Direct Energy and others to finance commercial and industrial solar projects. On the IPO front, SunEdison formalized plans to spin off its semiconductor manufacturing unit via a $250 million IPO. SunEdison Semiconductor would trade under the former MEMC Electronic Materials’ symbol of WFR. The unit reported $917.5 million in revenue in 2012.

Jumping back to venture financing, Enlighted, a California-based provider of lighting control systems for energy management applications, raised $5 million from EDBI to help scale its global operations and bring its solutions to Singapore and other Asian markets. Recovery Technology Solutions, a Minnesota-based developer of extraction and recycling of asphalt projects, raised $16.5 million from US Renewables Group. Space-Time Insight, a California-based provider of situation intelligence software to utilities, O&G, telecom and transportation companies, raised $20 million in Series A funding from EnerTech Capital , Novus Energy Partners , Opus Capital Ventures and Zouk Capital to take its services to new …

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 …

On site: BlackGold Biofuels in action

Kate McArdle

Last week, I went with a few of my colleagues to visit San Francisco’s Water Pollution Control Plant, where one of the Entrepreneur Showcase presenting companies, BlackGold Biofuels, has a facility that turns sewer grease into biofuel. The grease found in sewers is a big concern for utilities, and San Francisco alone estimates it spends $50 million/year on costs associated with sewer grease. BlackGold’s system not only alleviates the grease problem, it turns it into a profitable product.

Over at the plant, Emily Landsburg, BlackGold’s CEO, and Alexandre Miot, a Process Engineer at the plant, gave us a tour of BlackGold’s setup, which is the first commercial facility of its kind in the U.S.

On stage in New York: Climax Global Energy

Lisa Sibley

This week’s Pitch o’ the Week company, Climax Global Energy, is a presenting company in the Entrepreneur Showcase at the Cleantech Group’s New York Forum, going on through today. The Entrepreneur Showcase provides capital-seeking cleantech innovators with 10 minutes to pitch top cleantech investors, financiers and corporate buyers.

The Fairfax, S.C.-based company coverts landfill-bound plastics into high value synthetic oil for the clean diesel, syn-lube and wax markets with its patented microwave-assisted pyrolysis process. There is about a $5 billion to $6 billion lube market opportunity in the United States alone, and a $3 billion wax market, according to CEO John Griffith.

Its pyrolysis process essentially cuts plastics (which are long chain polymers) into shorter chain polymers to make synthetic oil. Pyrolysis is a process in which a substance is heated in the absence of oxygen and typically occurs under pressure and at operating temperatures of more than 430°C (800°F), although Climax’s process runs near atmospheric pressure.

The company has a commercial-scale prototype in South Carolina with a 3-ton/day capacity, with plans to start construction of its next reactor train this year at the same location. Additional locations are to follow in South Carolina, New Jersey and other …

Top-10 drivers of cleantech investment in India

Guest Analysts Shawn Lesser and Prashant Maniar

India is the 5th largest power generator in the world and is projected to be the 3rd largest by 2030. Its peak power deficit already stands at 12.6% and is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. The World Bank has predicted that 60% of India’s aquifers will be in critical condition in 15 years time.

For India, continuing its growth momentum while sustaining a healthy environment is a critical imperative. Cleantech can help ensure that these two goals are met.

1. India’s coal tax could raise $650 million for cleantech innovation – As of 1 July 2010, the Indian government began levying a tax of Rs 50 (~$1.1) on every tonne of coal mined in the country as well as that imported from abroad. The tax has the potential of raising $650 million in revenues which will be put towards a “Clean Energy Fund” for the research, development and deployment of renewable energy technologies.

2. Hydro is flowing strong - Hydro electric power generation accounts for 23% of India’s power generation capacity. Moreover, there is currently 46 GW of hydro capacity either completed or under development. Interestingly, only 3.5% of completed projects have been developed by the private …