Recent Posts:

SolFocus and Green Earth Fuels

Rob Day: July 27, 2006, 4:42 PM
  • SolFocus, a solar PV concentrator developer that was incubated at Xerox PARC (we've discussed them before), announced they have taken in $25mm of an anticipated $32mm Series A. This comes very soon after the company's seed round back in February, which is a sign of how hot and heavy VC interest is in solar right now. Funders in this Series A include NEA, NGEN, and Yellowstone Partners. SolFocus has also recently posted listings to hire a Product Champion for their Gen One concentrator product.

Cleantech investments: Rising quickly… too quickly?

Rob Day: July 24, 2006, 9:02 AM
According to news released today by VentureOne, cleantech investing activity more than tripled over the last year. Part of an overall increase in VC dealflow overall, and yet one of the fastest growing sectors. As described in today's VentureWire (note: referring to 1H06 numbers, whereas the linked item above is about 2Q06):
Alternative energy and clean technology has been a small but growing market for venture investing. Venture capitalists put $315 million into 23 deals during the first half of this year, more than tripling the $90 million invested in 10 deals in the first half of 2005, according to VentureOne.
A few things to note regarding all of these continuing indications...

One out of five VCs plan to target cleantech; CaliSolar and Glacier Bay get funding

Rob Day: July 18, 2006, 1:55 PM
The growing interest in cleantech, greentech, energytech, environmental technologies, whatever you call it, is grabbing hold for more VCs.

As the latest NVCA survey of VCs shows, 12% of VCs now say they're "currently focusing on investments in energy/environment, with that figure jumping to 21 percent over the next five years." For the second year in a row, it's the fastest growing sector in terms of projected activity. So according to those surveyed, five years from now one out of every five VCs plans to be focusing on cleantech.

Of course, a few leading lights are already deeply involved in the sector, as regular readers here will be aware. Matt Marshall has this nice profile of...

NStructures, Li*on Cells, Memphis Biofuels, and Metabolix

Rob Day: July 14, 2006, 9:46 AM
A couple of unannounced deals brought to light by PE Week Wire (and VentureReporter*) this week:
  • NStructures, which is developing some kind of photovoltaic technology that is not discussed anywhere I've found, has raised $3.15mm of a $6.3mm Series A round, with this initial amount provided by Khosla Ventures and Braemar Energy Ventures, according to PEWW.
  • Li*on, which is developing advanced lithium ion batteries (aimed at least partially at the electric vehicle market, according to this article), has raised $3.6mm in a Series A from Battery Ventures and Nth Power (again, according to PEWW).

The Carbon Trust and Pemeas; news and follow-ups

Rob Day: July 12, 2006, 1:50 PM
  • German fuel cell component maker PEMEAS announced a 6mm euro raise from existing investors. This brings the total invested to date in the company up to 26mm euro. Existing investors include BankInvest, Conduit Ventures, S.A.M., CDP Capital, InfraServ Hochst, and Celanese AG.
  • As previously mentioned here, many investors expect to see consolidation start to happen in the solar industry. Is the movement already starting? See Q-Cell's recent direct...

EcoSMART Series B, Enpirion Series C

Rob Day: July 6, 2006, 11:54 AM
  • EcoSMART, which is developing pesticides based upon natural plant oils, announced a $9mm Series B round, led by RockPort and DFJ Element. Existing investors (from a $6mm 2004 Series A) included Cordova Ventures, Early Stage Partners and Delta Capital (it's unclear from the PR if the existing investors participated in the current round, although it's interesting to note that Michael DeRosa probably brought the deal to Element from Cordova, where he was previously). VentureWire had a nice little profile of the company on Monday, for those with a subscription... The company reports they have a significant patent portfolio after 14 years of operations to date. The funds will be spent...