Recent Posts:

The looming Demand Response consolidation

Rob Day: June 28, 2007, 8:39 AM
Perhaps the hottest market few have heard of right now is Demand Response, which we've discussed -- often -- here (but which I find more often than not is still unfamiliar to anyone who isn't a big cleantech geek like yours truly)... Negawatts-on-demand is proving to be an important new tool for generation- and transmission-constrained utilities.

The recent successful IPOs of Comverge and EnerNOC have raised the profile of the sector a bit, and brought in a significant amount of capital available for potential acquisitions. What is less well-known, furthermore, is that two additional factors are poised to drive a wave of consolidation in the still-emerging industry:

1. While a couple...

Recurrent Energy, EPV and other news

Rob Day: June 25, 2007, 2:37 PM
  • Last week, VentureWire broke the news that solar financing startup Recurrent Energy has raised a $10mm Series A, led by MDV and including JEN Partners. The round was actually closed back in March, but had been only recently publicly confirmed by the company. CEO Arno Harris also wrote about the round on his blog today -- he's been talking about Recurrent there for a while... The solar financing space has been pretty hot lately, with a lot of startup groups pursuing the large market of empty rooftops out there...

Reader feedback

Rob Day: June 19, 2007, 9:41 AM
As always, readers are encouraged to submit comments or even email feedback (I can't promise to be super-responsive, however, since this isn't my day job)... Received the following thoughts from a fellow cleantech investor in response to last week's post on engine re-designs and auto drivetrains:

I just wanted to say I agreed completely with what you said about auto technology deals. I have seen a bunch of them and turned them all down for the reasons you mentioned - it is just intrinisically not a good space for VC investors. If anything I think you were overly diplomatic! Takes forever to get to market, very capital intensive, low margin business, and then even if you get to market,...

Advent Solar, SV Solar, TrafficCast, Cyber-Rain and other news

Rob Day: June 19, 2007, 5:48 AM
[Self-promotion alert] Very pleased to share the announcement acknowledge the scoop by Jonathan Shieber of Venture Wire today, that Advent Solar has raised a $70mm Series D, led by ZBI Ventures (the private equity and venture investment subsidiary of Ziff Brothers Investments), with participation by other new investors Sun Mountain Capital and Globespan Capital Partners, and also including existing investors Battery Ventures, EnerTech Capital, @Ventures, New Mexico Co-Investment Partners and Firelake Capital. The bulk of the financing will be used to expand the company's capacity from 25MW to approximately 70MW.

Other deals to note:

The challenges of re-inventing the engine

Rob Day: June 15, 2007, 3:04 AM
There continue to be a lot of great ideas out there for re-inventing the internal combustion engine ("ICE"). From small tweaks to major redesigns, engineers have been coming up with innovative approaches that promise efficiency gains and other benefits. And yet, with all these better mousetraps, the world hasn't yet beat a path to their doors. It's surprising to many of these entrepreneurs that new engine technologies haven't gotten more venture capital attention than they have so far.

The story of the next generation ICE helps illustrate the market and financing challenges facing many startups.

First and foremost, introducing a new ICE to the market is very difficult. Performance...

CleanFish, and Braemar’s next fund

Rob Day: June 11, 2007, 8:25 AM
  • VentureWire reported this morning that Braemar Energy Ventures has set a target of $200mm for their second fund. Braemar invests across a wide range of energy sectors, including clean energy technologies, and according to the VWire article the firm still owns 10.2% of EnerNOC.
Other news and notes: Here's a useful illustration of how supportive public policy to boost demand for solar is having a near-term effect of increasing PV panel prices... Speaking of solar, it's interesting to see Nanosolar losing their chief scientist......

Envision Solar, Ze-Gen, Verari

Rob Day: June 6, 2007, 2:33 AM
Public mentions of planned cleantech financings this morning:

  • According to VentureWire, Envision Solar has raised $600k of a targeted $2mm Series A round. The company is building "Solar Groves", which are PV-covered parking lots, based on Kyocera solar panels. The initial $600k has been in convertible notes, and current investors were undisclosed.
  • According to Martin LaMonica of, waste-to-electricity technology developer Ze-Gen is "in the process of securing $4.5 million in financing from venture capital firm Flagship Ventures." The article is worth reading for a general survey of the waste to energy space.
  • It's a good example of the ways that the cleantech investment thesis...