Recent Posts:

CropSolution, Vycon and In-Pipe

Rob Day: October 31, 2005, 11:05 AM
  • CropSolution, which develops advanced, more efficient herbicides, pesticides, and other agricultural products, has apparently raised a $2.9M Series C round, according to PE Week Wire. This brings the total funding into the company since 2002 to $14.3M. Investors include The Aurora Funds and ATP Capital.
  • Also from the same PE Week Wire column: Vycon, which is developing flywheel technology for energy storage in large-scale applications, has apparently raised a $2.5M Series A. Investors include BankInvest, RWE Dynamics Venture Capital Management, Sumitomo Corp., Cooper Capital Partners and Tridus International -- Vycon has been a division of Calnetix, a technology development company focused on motors and electric components, and it is unclear what the current ownership of Vycon amounts to.
  • In-Pipe Technology, which offers wastewater treatment systems, announced a $3.5M Series A, from "a group of institutional investors". In-Pipe's system combines technology and microbial solutions to move early stages of treatment up into the wastewater collection system, improving the efficiency of operations at the downstream centralized wastewater treatment systems.

Where are you?

Rob Day: October 28, 2005, 9:11 AM
According to my limited website traffic statistics, readers of this site come from all over the world, with some strong concentrations in various North American cities. But you may not know who's near you, reading this same page...

For those who are interested, visit the Cleantech Investing map on Frappr, and add yourself. It only takes a second, and you can enter as much or as little info as you would like. It would be interesting to get the visualization of where everyone is, all of us commonly watching the cleantech venture investing space as it continues to develop. And if you enter some contact information for yourself, it may be useful for networking with like-minded folks near you, if that's of interest as well. Just continuing this site's mission of fostering the growth of this interesting space we're in.

Thanks to SiliconBeat and PE Week Wire for pointing me to this fun site on the web...

Atlantium raises $4-5M Series A — maybe?

Rob Day: October 28, 2005, 8:11 AM
[10/28 update: After posting the following entry, we received word that the cited article announcing the raise was wrong on a number of points -- so read it how you will!]

Atlantium, which manufactures UV-based water disinfection systems, is reportedly on the verge of raising a $4-5M Series A, to be led by Pitango Venture Capital, and including VantagePoint Venture Partners, Aurum-SBC Ventures, and existing private investors. Interesting to see this story, which doesn't appear to be based on any announcement from the company or the purported funders, it's unclear who told the online journal about the round... Hence the uncertainty about the final amount of the raise.

Regardless of details, ultraviolet-based disinfection of drinking water is an area that has garnered some attention from cleantech investors, because it is generally chemical-free and can be used closer to point of use, among other benefits.

Smart grid: A $45B opportunity

Rob Day: October 25, 2005, 3:01 PM
We've talked at length about the "smart grid" before -- the idea that adding intelligence into the electrical transmission and distribution grid (and some lump in distributed generation as well) would help promote energy efficiency, reduce waste in transmission, and prevent outages and brownouts.

Now the Global Environment Fund, a cleantech venture investment firm, has released a very useful study (note: opens pdf) which specifically addresses the subject. Out of the global $81B spend on power grid infrastructure in 2005, they argue, $25B could be addressed by "smart" products. As they point out, transmission spending is already forecast to be greatly increasing in the U.S., since 70% of transmission lines are 25 years old or older, 70% of transformers are 25 years old or older, and 60% of circuit breakers are 30 years old or older -- and we're running out of capacity to begin with. A large bill is becoming due, and smart grid technologies can help mitigate the costs and build a more reliable system in the doing.

The report is particularly useful because it provides an introduction to key customer segments, key technologies, important market drivers, etc. A good primer. Cleantech investors and others who are getting up to speed on the topic should certainly check it out.

Items of interest on a busy Tuesday

Rob Day: October 25, 2005, 2:34 PM
  • Regretfully unable to attend the Cleantech Venture Forum in Washington, DC this week. Fortunately, Tyler Hamilton is blogging his notes and thoughts from the Forum, which is quite helpful and great to see. I definitely encourage checking out his site, both during the Forum and beyond, especially for those particularly interested in the Canadian players in cleantech.
  • Speaking of the Cleantech Venture Forum, the organizers -- the Cleantech Venture Network -- have announced that they are projecting that North American investors are going to put $10B of venture investments into cleantech over the next four years. That would represent continued strong growth from the estimated $1.5B in cleantech investments in 2005, and from the $7.3B that was invested over the previous 10 years. Just a further sign of the maturation of the space. Can the "cleantech is underinvested" secret be kept for just a little while longer, please? No thanks to sites like this, of course... I also found this article to be an interesting juxtaposition.
  • Chrysalix Energy, a clean energy venture capital firm, announced the second close of their Chrysalix Energy II fund. LPs in the fund include Delta Lloyd, WestAM, Robeco, Teachers Private Capital, The Mitsubishi Corporation, BASF Venture Capital and Shell Hydrogen LLC and other investors. Chrysalix has broadened their investment focus beyond the fuel cell and hydrogen technologies they originally targeted, while maintaining their leadership position in those investment areas.
  • Finally, it's worth noting the many clean technologies highlighted as part of the Wall Street Journal's Innovation Awards.

Gaia Power and CellFor

Rob Day: October 25, 2005, 2:03 PM
  • Speaking of the "smart grid", Gaia Power announced a $2.25M Series A investment today, led by GHO Ventures (recent space traveller Greg Olsen's investment vehicle), and including the NJTC Venture Fund and the Small Business Technology Investment Fund of the Empire State Development Corporation. Gaia Power's initial energy storage/ backup power products are turnkey systems aimed at both the business and residential markets.
  • CellFor, which produces superior tree seedlings for industrial forestry, announced the completion of a US$32M Series C raise, with a corporate investment from DuPont, and including existing investors ATP Capital, CSFB Private Equity, GrowthWorks Capital, and BDC Venture Capital. CellFor's "naturally-selected" varietal pine seedlings are disease resistant, and provide higher yield and wood characteristics, thus improving efficiency of industrial forestry operations. This is one of those investment areas where "cleantech" is in the eye of the beholder -- readers are invited to comment pro and con.

Energy technology startups are starting to hire again

Rob Day: October 25, 2005, 12:41 PM
In one encouraging sign that things are going well in the clean energy space, I've recently seen a few clean energy companies starting to ramp up hiring. Even over the past couple of years of strong growth, such companies have been reticent to expand their teams. It's always a big deal to take on more headcount. But apparently, clean energy CEOs are getting comfortable enough now that they're willing to take on the costs and obligations, and that's an encouraging sign. It also reflects how much new money the industry has taken in lately -- that capital is supposed to be spent expanding management teams, in many cases...

I know a bunch of readers of this site are people looking to get into the industry, so as a reminder, here are some thoughts on where and how to look for positions in the space.