Recent Posts:

Happy Thanksgiving pt 2

Rob Day: November 21, 2006, 7:27 PM
Wanted to share the above chart, which was in the most recent quarterly Jefferies CleanTech Review. The color-coded areas are estimated to be more susceptible to significant drought by 2025, given current water supplies and uses. Really helps highlight why, even if energy tech gets all the press attention, water tech may be an even more pressing market need.

Happy Thanksgiving

Rob Day: November 21, 2006, 9:18 AM
Lots of folks who have reason to be thankful for recent checks written and received:
  • Solaicx has taken in $3mm from Applied Ventures. The silicon wafer manufacturer plans to use the funding to help build out a second manufacturing facility. In addition to generally addressing the current silicon shortage, Solaicx claims their process provides significant efficiency gains in silicon production as well.
  • Materials discovery firm Intematix has taken in a $16.5mm Series C led by Crosslink Capital and Samsung Ventures. New investor Presidio STX and existing investors DFJ, East Gate Capital, and Pacifica Fund also participated in the round. The company's materials development efforts are...

SunPower buys Powerlight

Rob Day: November 15, 2006, 9:48 PM
As we've talked about for some time now, the solar market is due for some serious consolidation.

While there have been some earlier small moves, today a big move came with the announcement that SunPower is going to be using their healthy market valuation to acquire Powerlight.

This follows on the SunEdison acquisition of Team Solar, and various other vertical integrations over the past year or so. It's very interesting to note Joel Makower's take in the Red Herring article linked above that this represents "Plan B" for Powerlight in their attempts to go public.

Joel has his own take here, and links this announcement to the upcoming Clean Tech Investor Summit. Neal Dikeman also has his...

Firefly and Infinite Power; European cleantech VCs in a "choppy" market?

Rob Day: November 13, 2006, 12:17 PM
  • Firefly Energy, which has developed an alternative set of components for improved performance in lead acid batteries, announced a $10mm Series B led by Stark Capital, and including existing investors Caterpillar, KB Partners, the Illinois Finance Authority and the Tri-County Venture Capital Fund. The financing will go toward further product development and other efforts.

Last week’s Energy Venture Fair

Rob Day: November 12, 2006, 11:46 PM

Had the pleasure of attending the annual Energy Venture Fair this past week. It's an interesting pitch-fest where dozens of energy tech startup CEOs come to give 15 minute presentations to potential investors (or, more often than not, each other).

Because about five company presentations go at the same time, it's always fun to see which rooms are crowded and which are not. This year's big winners (based upon the number of investors sitting taking notes) appeared to be anything solar- or biofuels-related, which is really no surprise. But there were some interesting companies present, and a nice breadth of techs and markets represented. You can read about the companies that were...

Mascoma, Luz II, Norsun, NIL, and other news

Rob Day: November 12, 2006, 10:45 PM
  • Mascoma, which is developing cellulosic ethanol production technology, is expected to announce a $30mm round of financing on Monday, led by General Catalyst Partners, and including Khosla Ventures and Flagship Ventures (we've previously mentioned a smaller amount than the $9mm it's now known these two firms invested earlier this year), Kleiner Perkins and others. The funding is going to go toward a pilot-scale plant, and Samir Kaul mentions that he is expecting commercialization in 2008.
  • Not sure how we forgot to mention this one, but hopefully better late than never: John Woolard of VantagePoint Venture Partners has joined centralized solar plant startup Luz II (no website yet) as...

It’s been quiet lately…

Rob Day: November 6, 2006, 3:29 PM
At least in terms of public pronouncements of cleantech deals. Is the industry taking a breather? Or, as several fellow investors have mentioned to me recently, are deals increasingly going stealth in the space, as competition heats up for deal access? Certainly seems like the latter scenario has some truth to it, given talk we've heard about various deals that aren't being publicly announced. But of course, journalistic scoops are the business of other sites, VentureWire and PE Week Wire, and not the purpose of this site...

So that having been said, here are some news items and tidbits from recent public announcements and articles:
  • Bill Gates' Cascade Investments and PNM Resources...