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Toronto and Boston conferences

Rob Day: October 31, 2007, 7:45 PM
Enjoyed attending two very strong cleantech conferences over the past few days. The semi-annual Cleantech Venture Forum was, as always, well-attended and a great opportunity to network with peers in the industry. You can see some summaries of the proceedings here, here and here. Prism Solar won the prize for most promising company among the presenters -- later, the company shared with VentureWire that they've raised $6.5mm of their ongoing Series A round (in February we mentioned they'd raised a bit over $2mm to date), with I2BF Venture Capital providing some of the capital. One particularly intriguing session at the Forum was a presentation by member of the "Developer and...

Some questions to ask in Toronto

Rob Day: October 24, 2007, 9:35 AM
Headed up to Toronto this afternoon, for the hyper-networking experience that is the semi-annual Cleantech Venture Forum. Looking forward to catching up with everyone, since I haven't been able to make it to one of these for quite a while -- should be something like 500-600 participants, I've heard. A big change from a few years back, when just hitting triple-digits was a big deal. Here are some suggested questions to ask while handing out handshakes, execsums and business cards:
  1. Is Heliovolt's $101mm Series B a sign of things to come, or does it mark an inflection point in the solar sector?
  2. Now that first biofuels, and now solar have gone "supernova", what's the next hot...

Heliovolt’s $101mm Series B

Rob Day: October 22, 2007, 9:03 AM
Seems like just a couple of weeks ago we were talking about how hot solar is again... News came out this morning (first saw it in CTI) that CIGS thin-film PV startup Heliovolt has raised an $101mm Series B round, which means they've added $24mm to their previous close on the round of $77mm. New investors apparently include Sequel Venture Partners of Colorado, Noventi Ventures, and hedge fund Passport Capital. The capital is intended to help them open "foreign" manufacturing facilities. It's a huge round (Matt Marshall says the biggest solar venture deal ever, but I haven't checked) at any stage, and especially for a Series B. A sign that many investors expect big things out of...

Deals and other cleantech venture news

Rob Day: October 22, 2007, 5:01 AM
It was a busy week in the world of cleantech investing:
  • Mendel Biotechnology, a biofuels feedstock development startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding. ZBI Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group, CFM, and Monsanto took part in the round.  More good background here.

An update on the cleantech venture market in Israel

Rob Day: October 21, 2007, 7:35 PM
Meir Ukeles of Israel Cleantech Ventures has been busy lately, but he still found time to write the following update on how hot things have been over there lately (thanks, Meir!):

On October 30, Israel will host a cleantech conference cosponsored by the Cleantech Venture Network, Ernst & Young, Morrison & Foerster, and my firm Israel Cleantech Ventures, as part of the larger WATEC water technologies week event. Ahead of this event, here are a few thoughts on why Israel is emerging as an important hub of cleantech innovation.

Fueled by acute constraints in natural resources, Israel has spawned a number of successful water technology and alternative energy companies, including...

More on the cleantech management challenge

Rob Day: October 18, 2007, 1:25 PM
A few days back we talked about the different challenges of managing any startup through the different stages of development. And ended by noting that one of the encouraging signs for the cleantech sector is the development of a deeper pool of entrepreneurial talent (although it still needs to be much deeper -- please, jump in the pool, the water's warm and getting warmer). It was great, then, to validate this point this past week, by having the opportunity to speak at HBS, alongside Dhiraj Malkani of RockPort, to students who were interested in getting into the sector. It was a fun discussion, and I know Dhiraj and I both certainly appreciated the invitation to come meet some...

“Cleantech CEO Attrition Tied to Market Struggles”… Huh?

Rob Day: October 14, 2007, 4:52 PM
Really didn't understand the Clean Technology Investor article cited in the title of this post. Unfortunately, I can't provide the full text of the article, since it's on CTI's paid service, but the gist of the article (from this past Monday) was: 1. "Running a clean technology company holds out the prospect of leading technological change in an industry, but also the possibility of product delays and a struggle to gain market acceptance." 2. "That may explain the rapid turnover of CEOs among clean technology companies, along with the limited pool of talent in a nascent industry, which heightens the chances of a mismatch between company and leader." 3. "Merrit Baker,...