by M Paschich
| June 5th 2014
WaterSmart Software recently raised nearly $5 million in Series A round of funding: we chat with Peter Yolles, Co-Founder and CEO, about the company, its growing team, the value of data-driven water management, and the future of the water system.
Hi Peter… Can you walk us back to the beginning of WaterSmart Software?
Yes, I’d be glad to tell that story. I’ve been in the water sector for over 20 years, and so when I moved to my first home in 2001 it was very important to me that the home use water efficiently. So, I installed hardware like efficient toilets and other appliances, and at the same time I was very interested in knowing what impact these investments would have and how much money I was saving on my water use. Tracking these savings meant gathering data, which—I thought—meant going online to my local water utility’s website. Surprisingly, I found a page called “Water Consumption History”. Frustratingly, the page said “Under Construction / Check Back Soon”. And so I waited and waited and waited and, after 8 years, nothing changed. Looking back, it makes some sense because, when you think about it, water utilities just don’t have …
by Felix Talvard
| May 13th 2014
Matthew Kuzma, Vice President – Technical Solutions & Global Business Development of Organica Water, talks about change in wastewater treatment and being a good neighbour.
One of our sessions during the Cleantech Forum Europe that will be held in Stockholm (May 19-21) is titled the 10 Year Track – How we (can have) Impact. The theme is about how European companies are tackling environmental and resource challenges in some of the most populous and impoverished regions of the world. One of the speakers in this session is Matthew Kuzma of Organica Water, a company revolutionizing urban wastewater treatment and 2013 Global Cleantech “Company of the Year” in Europe and Israel. Founded in 1998 in Budapest, Hungary, Organica Water now holds a major office in Princeton, USA as well as offices in cities such as Delhi, Shanghai and Jakarta. We asked Matthew about his outlook on the future of cleantech and the future of his company.
Given the theme of our Forum (the “10 Year Track”: ideas on where innovation around energy and resources might take us in the years ahead) what is in store for Organica Water in the next 5 to 10 years? And for the water sector in …
by Gannon McHenry
| April 30th 2014
The rapid adoption of sensors into our electric and water distribution systems has created a wealth of new data. Start-ups in the Cleanweb sector attempt to digest these vast quantities of data and identify areas for improving efficiency. The recent IPO of Opower and increasing attention paid to companies like Bidgely and C3 Energy has served to further demonstrate that this sector is here to stay. WatrHub is a Cleanweb startup focused on the aggregation of water-industry data. Last week Cleantech Group had the pleasure of interviewing Sunit Mohindroo, WatrHub Inc’s Chief Product Officer to learn more about the company’s platform and challenges they are focused on solving.
Q: Could you explain the problem which you set out to solve and what initially got you interested in the water space?
The essence of WatrHub is we are a data and analytics company focused on providing equipment manufacturers within the water industry with timely and actionable sales leads through our data. Myself and my co-founder, Ahmed Badruddin, having previously worked at Apple and Microsoft, wanted to do something with more of a social and environmental impact. We looked at opportunities in the water space and we …
by M Paschich
| March 5th 2014
What is Axine’s Genesis story?
Axine was founded by Colleen Legzdins, a Ph.D. materials engineer with a deep history in the electrochemical industry who was most recently with Ballard Material Products and Ballard Power Systems (our leading fuel cell company up here in Vancouver). Colleen left that company several years ago, wanting to apply her knowledge in electrochemistry to another area of cleantech. She looked at various parts of the cleantech ecosystem and finally settled on wastewater because she could see that there was an incredible amount of pain points in industrial water treatment related to this area that she thought electrochemistry could improve upon. And she basically settled on the thesis that non-biodegradable and toxic organics in industrial waste water are really persistent pain points in many different industries, like oil & gas, chemicals, semiconductors, textiles, and mining. She looked at the incumbent solution for treating those types of persistent chemicals, things like volatile organic compounds, ammonia, nitrogen species, benzenes, dissolved hydrocarbons, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, dyes from textiles…
Things that are super difficult to treat because they’re persistent and recalcitrant and not biodegradable and cannot be broken down with conventional biological waste water treatment. The incumbent way …
by Brett Richardson
| February 3rd 2014
Africa is in the midst of an agricultural revolution, with innovation driving new avenues for increased crop yields, better resource and capital operating efficiencies, and general farm management knowledge. Africa is home to almost 600 million hectares of uncultivated arable land, or about 60% of the world’s total. This contrasts the fact that 1/3rd of sub-Saharan Africans are undernourished, with population expected to grow to 1.2 billion people by 2050. The cleantech world is driving the changing scope of African agriculture with an influx of new companies offering innovative solutions which will alleviate stresses to the current system and support farmers.
Both local and international startups are addressing some of the most basic challenges of agricultural production in Africa. 20%, or 4 billion dollars of grain harvest, is lost every year and 35-50% of fruit and vegetables spoil from crop and storage pests. UK based companies Plant Health Care and Exosect are targeting this inefficiency with pilot projects in Africa using their proprietary crop protection technologies. Plant Health Care provides natural pesticides which leaves no residual impact on the environment and helps to activate certain defensive and growth responses. Exosect also makes bio-control pesticides that can be applied to …
by Amanda Faulkner
| January 31st 2014
California Governor Jerry Brown recently declared a drought emergency in California and asked residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce water consumption by 20 percent. While residential water usage is an extremely important part of the equation, agriculture is the largest user of water, using around 80 percent of the water from ground and surface sources. Given this challenge, what companies are helping farmers reduce their water use, both in California and around the world? Here are a few taking on this task:
- AquaSpy is a California-based developer of agricultural technology to improve crop yield through monitoring soil moisture and improving root health. Through sensors and data, the company is allowing farmers to only water plants when they need it.
- Driptech is a California and India-based developer of micro-irrigation sytstems for small plot farmers in developing countries. Although the company does not target farms in California, it does provide low-cost irrigation systems to farmers in other drought-prone areas around the world.
- mOasis is a California-based developer of soil amendment product designed to increase crop yields and reduce the need for fertilizer and water. The company’s hydrogel forms a tight bond with water and nutrients, allowing them to be used by plants
| January 9th 2014
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, contractual …
by Sheeraz Haji
| November 6th 2013
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 …
by Janelle Heslop
| September 17th 2013
On September 10-11, Cleantech Group hosted its second annual Water Innovation Summit in Berkeley, California. Representatives from VC firms, corporates, startups, municipalities, and more gathered to debate issues ranging from repair drones in water pipes to financing infrastructure in emerging markets. Our strategy for the Summit was simple: define top challenges throughout the ‘water cycle’ and uncover opportunities to accelerate innovation at each step. However, what quickly became evident, as with many water-related conversations, is that the challenges are complex and solutions are interconnected.
In fact, in summarizing the Summit, Peter Gleick from the Pacific Institute, referred to a few ‘water clichés’ that seem to emerge from any discussion of water challenges and solutions:
- Water is more than technology; we must consider cultural and political challenges. The confluence of all three—technology, culture, and politics—is the key to making water work. This was particularly noted by leaders from the World Bank and WaterHealth as critical to solving challenges in developing countries. New technologies and business models must be accompanied by an authentic understanding of personal, cultural aspects of water in addition to local regulations. Some innovators in the room provided insight on how to leverage these competing factors—for example,
| September 3rd 2013
We’re back from our Labor Day holiday here in the U.S., and it’s time to take a look back at the week in cleantech:
It was disclosed via a regulatory filing that kerfless silicon PV company Solexel closed on additional financing in the growth equity round opened in June. As the number of participating investors remained the same, we presume the $40 million capital increase comes from existing investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, DAG Ventures, and Technology Partners. The round total stands at $54.7 million.
WaterSmart Software, which seeks to do for domestic water efficiency what Opower is doing for energy efficiency, closed on a $4.5 million Series A round. The round was led by new investor The Westly Group and included participation from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Physic Ventures, and Apsara Capital.
In the Transportation sector, fleet vehicle optimization company Local Motion raised $6 million in fresh capital from Andreessen Horowitz. The company, formerly an electric vehicle manufacturer known as Weng Motors, now provides software and kit to help companies and municipalities more efficiently share fleet vehicles among their staff.
In M&A, Millennium Power Solutions, a developer of intelligent battery energy …