Recent Posts:

Cleantech investors and philanthropy

Rob Day: July 31, 2007, 4:08 AM
Carla Dearing recently asked cleantech investors to tell philanthropists where to put their money since cleantech venture investing has gotten so hot. It's a great question, and really brings home the fact that there's been rapid changes in expectations about a lot of cleantech sectors -- we IRR-focused VCs must really believe in the "10x" possibilities of clean technologies, markets and business models that used to be seen as taking too long to develop or otherwise not providing strong returns. Institutional VCs are not allowed to put their LPs' capital into investments without the expectations of those strong returns -- philanthropy is a different game. So Carla smartly asks...

Technology Partners’ $300mm Fund VIII, and other news

Rob Day: July 31, 2007, 3:24 AM
Technology Partners, probably best known to cleantech investors as the home of cleantech champion Ira Ehrenpreis, announced today the closing of their newest fund at $300mm. The fund will be equally directed toward cleantech and life sciences investments, and they've already made four investments (including two in cleantech: Tesla, and a "stealth" solar company, according to the press release), so the fund has been closed for some time prior to this announcement. Ira also has joined the Board of the NVCA and mentioned that he's helping them pull together the new-ish Cleantech Council. Cheers to Ira and the rest of the Tech Partners team!

A couple of recently announced deals to note:
  • ...

Solaria and LiquidPiston

Rob Day: July 25, 2007, 7:36 AM
  • The big deal so far this week is Solaria's $50mm Series C, led by Q-Cells and including existing investors Sigma Partners, NGEN and Moser Baer. In the deal, Solaria also gains access to 1.35 gigawatts worth of Q-Cells' PV cells to be used in Solaria panels over the next ten years. The slowness of high-profile CIGS and other thin film PV startups to get into the market has meant that the competition for silicon wafers and silicon-based cells is about as hot as it can get right now.

The Boston cleantech community is heating up

Rob Day: July 20, 2007, 11:38 AM
We'll have to wait on the deal-tracking numbers to be sure, but it certainly feels like the Boston-area cleantech community is getting a lot more active these days.

Many of the leading local VC firms are taking an interest and getting involved through great efforts like NEEIC, and beyond the VC/ entrepreneur end of the market there's been an increase in regional efforts to build a stronger overall "clean energy community". And of course, there's the world-class research being done at the various local universities and other research centers...

Last night's REBN-East event was another good example -- a new high for attendance, and perhaps most impressive was the number of venture...

Think, Gevo, and corn-based ethanol under fire

Rob Day: July 19, 2007, 3:40 AM
[7/19 edit: The title of this post can be read several ways, in retrospect. To be clear, Think Global AS and Gevo are not under fire. rd]

  • Think Global AS, the Norwegian electric vehicle manufacturer, raised a $60mm Series B round of financing. New investors Element, RockPort, Hazel Capital and CG Holding all participated alongside existing investors Canica, Capricorn Investment Group, Wintergreen Advisors, and individual investors. Venture funding of electric vehicles is really heating up -- how long until this guy has VCs knocking on his door? Maybe this guy will buy a Think with his insurance settlement.

Energy prices to remain high

Rob Day: July 18, 2007, 5:50 PM
That's the verdict, at least, of a few recent news items.

First of all, the National Petroleum Council released a study (pdf of execsum here) which projected continued energy demand growth which will require the use of every available energy resource, dirty and clean -- very interestingly, they made a strong endorsement of energy efficiency as an energy source.

Secondly, this news that Goldman Sachs is projecting $95 per barrel oil by the end of the year, unless OPEC and other suppliers significantly boost output. Now, oil is just one energy source with limited direct impacts on many clean energy technology markets.

But thirdly, word came out that electricity consumption in Europe is...

Big week for cleantech deals

Rob Day: July 13, 2007, 2:45 PM
Lots of deals to catch up on here at the end of the week:
  • Energy efficiency is the new "IT" sector (apologies for a very bad pun): Computer/server efficiency software provider Verdiem has raised a $8.33mm round of financing led by Kleiner Perkins, and including participation by The Westley Group, Phoenix Partners, Falcon Partners, Catamount Ventures, Angeleno Group, and Trevor Traina (angel). The company's software allows computer system administrators to remotely override PC users when they re-set their efficiency settings (turning off "sleep" mode, for example).
  • Thin-film (CIGS) solar developer SoloPower raised a $30mm Series B, led by Convexa Capital, and including participation by...