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Cleantech investor news

Rob Day: March 31, 2006, 9:16 AM
  • Garage Technology Ventures, which has invested in several cleantech startups including Hoku Scientific and Miasole, announced the formation of a new seed-stage fund. Backers include Thomas Weisel Global Growth Partners, DFJ, Silicon Valley Bank, and E-Trade. The new fund will co-invest alongside the firm's original fund. Good quote from managing director Bill Reichert: "The world doesn't need another $250 million fund chasing the same billion-dollar startups. Our mantra is, 'Small is Beautiful.'"
  • Idealab, which has backed solar concentrator startup Energy Innovations, has agreed to pay off the $50m personal loan of founder Bill Gross. Here's a long article with some details.

Catching up on the news

Rob Day: March 28, 2006, 11:28 AM
A lot of stories worth tracking from the last week or so...
  • Regarding solar technology, here's an interesting story about the amount of investing China is putting into building their domestic solar industry. Will that be an opportunity or a threat to solar companies elsewhere?
  • Should have mentioned the California Clean Tech Open before. Many readers of this site will already be aware of it, but you can read more about it here and here. Terrific idea. Also, Xerox PARC has put out some more information about their own cleantech efforts. Get those business plans going! ...It's also a great sign for us...

Energy technology and energy prices

Rob Day: March 28, 2006, 11:13 AM
In recent conversations with investors and investees, one question that often comes up is "what is going to happen if and when energy prices drop again?"

It's not just an academic question. So many energy-related technologies derive their economic value out of high baseline energy prices that it could potentially affect market growths and thus the value of clean energy investments.

Now, first of all let's note that this isn't just a question of oil prices (in fact, in many ways natural gas prices are more important in regards to clean energy technologies such as energy efficiency or solar). And let's also note that the consensus is that over the long run the trend is going to be...

WellDog, OrionSolar, Micro Power Electronics

Rob Day: March 24, 2006, 11:47 AM
  • WellDog, which has a number of technological solutions for natural gas extraction and carbon sequestration, announced a $6.5M Series D. The round included new investors Axiom Venture Partners, Kozel Energy and Yellowstone Energy Ventures, as well as existing investors EnerTech and Prospector Energy Capital.
  • Israeli solar startup OrionSolar, which is developing dye cell PV, took in $1M from 21Ventures. This builds upon approximately $800k in earlier funding from 21Ventures and Incentive, an Israeli incubator group. According to the article describing the transaction, OrionSolar is targeting solar cells with costs under $1 per peak watt.
  • Venture investors don't usually do buyouts from...

Comverge raises $5.5M Series C; Neah Power gets reverse-merged

Rob Day: March 21, 2006, 5:31 AM
  • Comverge, which offers utility meter equipment and is also developing demand-response services (they'll turn down your air conditioner during peak usage times, in exchange for a rebate from your utility), announced a $5.5M Series C. The financing was provided by new investors Air Products and Chemicals and Partners for Growth, as well as existing investors Nth Power, EnerTech Capital Partners, Rockport Capital Partners, Norsk Hydro Ventures, Ridgewood Capital, Easton Hunt, and Data Systems & Software. The company has now taken in a total of $40.9M in venture financing.

News you can use

Rob Day: March 20, 2006, 1:37 PM
In advance of this week's Cleantech Venture Forum in San Francisco, here are some news stories to talk about in the networking sessions, if you're able to attend...
  • Building on last week's discussion of the hydrogen economy comes this useful update on the current state of micro fuel cell commercialization -- a tech some have looked to for earlier market adoption than hydrogen-fueled PEMs, focusing on battery replacement instead of stationary or vehicular power. "But profitability in the segment appears to be elusive, as the technology remains in the R&D stage for now."