Recent Posts:

The terrorist plot and micro fuel cells… and other news

Rob Day: August 13, 2006, 6:58 AM
  • With all of the stories about air travellers having to throw out their shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, and other liquids, cleantech investors should note that the effects may be significantly felt on one technology area in particular: micro fuel cells. It seems clear that there is new seriousness about preventing travellers from bringing liquids and gels onto planes. One of the key factors which has been driving the development of micro fuel cells has been the desire for longer-lasting power on long flights, for laptops and other electronic equipment -- it's a battery-replacement technology in many respects, and thus air travel is a key market driver. The problem facing the...

Q2 was yet another big month for cleantech: CTVN claims $843mm invested

Rob Day: August 10, 2006, 4:43 PM
News released today by the Cleantech Venture Network says total VC investments in cleantech were $843mm in Q2, a 64% increase over Q1 (which itself was no slouch). There's been a lot of talk about the various available data sources out there, but without a doubt this is big news (CTVN claims this makes the sector the third largest right now, behind Biotech and Software). This makes eight straight quarters of growth.

Breaking down the numbers a bit, clean energy remains the biggest sector, at $594mm, but the growth in that category (at 69% over Q1) was comparable to the overall cleantech sectoral growth, which means that other categories must have seen strong growth as well, despite...

Orion Energy Systems, Tendril, Newmarket and lots of fun news

Rob Day: August 8, 2006, 8:36 AM
  • (Self-promotion alert) Orion Energy Systems has taken in a $4.5mm Series C from Expansion Capital Partners. The Plymouth, WI- based company has established a strong position in the energy efficient lighting and services space (if you want to know what Orion ES does, just read the column I wrote for Matt Marshall's SiliconBeat site last week -- Orion does a lot of what I described in the lighting example). Orion's systems, as well as those of other energy efficiency technology providers, could go a long way to helping ease our current grid and generation capacity shortages here in California and elsewhere. Energy efficiency is the forgotten low-hanging fruit in the clean energy...

The latest cleantech mega-deal: Ion America

Rob Day: August 4, 2006, 1:17 PM
According to today's PE Week Wire, solid oxide fuel cell developer Ion America has raised a $102mm Series D, plus $2mm in convertible securities. According to the same mention (based on regulatory findings), the post-money valuation on their 2004 $45mm Series C round was $114mm (no word on the valuation of this new round). This brings the company's venture funding to $165mm in total to date. Kleiner Perkins, Mobius and NEA are backers. We last saw news about Ion America this time last year... The company still appears to be in official stealth mode, without a public website.

[8/5 update: If it's in Silicon Valley, Matt Marshall knows about it -- read his coverage of the Ion...

Cleantech investors in the news

Rob Day: August 2, 2006, 4:22 PM
  • As part of their SolFocus investment announcement, NEA served notice that they're planning on spending more effort on "energy-related firms." They're already investors in Konarka, Glacier Bay, Ion America, and other cleantech investments...

Altra’s $120mm, plus Proven Engineering and other company notes

Rob Day: August 2, 2006, 9:56 AM
  • Biofuels continue to get a lot of attention in the private equity world, with the most recent example being Altra's $120mm newly-announced round of financing. It was just back in April that the company announced a significant round of financing, and the new round is on top of that. This brings the company's total "warchest" up to $250mm, according to the RH article, so clearly the company is being positioned to make some major moves in acquisitions and greenfield builds in ethanol and biodiesel. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Omninet Private Equity, Sage Capital Partners, Angeleno Group, and Khosla Ventures were co-leads in the round. Sounds like these investors probably see an...