Recent Posts:

Five questions:  Brett Feldman, ex-NSTAR

Rob Day: November 23, 2007, 1:24 PM
Some light reading for those of you doing some heavy digesting this weekend (Happy Thanksgiving!): Regular readers of this site will know that we're generally big on energy efficiency and demand response, and more and more investors seem to be getting on board with these sentiments. So when we learned that a smart colleague in the field was leaving his position on the utility side, it seemed like a good opportunity to pick his brain as part of our Five Questions series... Brett Feldman recently left NSTAR after 3 years as an energy efficiency program manager to pursue another opportunity in the field. At NSTAR, he managed energy efficiency and demand response programs for...

M2E Power — another reason to dance with your MP3 player

Rob Day: November 16, 2007, 4:50 AM
Extremely pleased to note [self-promotion alert] that M2E Power has announced an $8mm Series A round of financing, led by OVP Venture Partners, and including participation by @Ventures, Highway 12, and existing investors. The Boise-based company is developing technologies for more efficient applications of electromagnetic induction -- which is at the heart of most generation technologies deployed today. The initial focus of the company will be on the development of motion-to-energy devices for consumer and military devices that could use their innovations for efficient micro-generation to supplement and replace batteries, so that basic daily moving around (walking, driving, etc.)...

Angelic returns…

Rob Day: November 15, 2007, 11:13 AM
We've discussed before the important role that angels have to play in the cleantech investment sector. The biggest reason is because there can be longer gestation periods for cleantech startups (hard to release an early beta version into the market, as you sometimes can with other tech plays).  Thus, in this sector more than others, angels with more patient approaches than institutional investors can play an important role in bridging the gap between invention and commercialization. So it's very interesting to see mention of this analysis from the Kauffman Foundation which looked broadly at angel investment patterns across all sectors and estimated that overall, angels are earning...

Welcoming the newest member of the cleantech VC community…

Rob Day: November 12, 2007, 1:35 PM
...Al Gore. If there was a Nobel Prize for PR, Kleiner would win it hands down. Time and again, they do a masterful job of getting reverential mass media attention for their partners and their portfolio companies. Some VC firms shun attention, but I think it can actually be a valuable tool for dealflow, and for helping open doors for value-add at the board level, when it's done correctly. The news today that Al Gore has joined Kleiner's team is a great example of how it can be done very well. I've personally been fielding calls from reporters all day looking for "reactions", and probably many others in the community have been as well. The media cycle is in full...

Last week in cleantech venture capital…

Rob Day: November 11, 2007, 6:19 PM
  • SiXtron, a Montreal-based developer of thin-film coatings for solar cells, announced a C$10mm Series A. VenturesWest led the round, which also included existing investors iNovia Capital, Innovatech sud du Quebec, and FIDD.
  • Novomer, which is developing technology for producing plastics from carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, announced a $6.6mm Series A. Physic Ventures and Flagship Ventures provided the funding.

Update:  The sky is falling

Rob Day: November 6, 2007, 3:13 PM
Not really. But several pieces of sobering news from the past couple of days:
  • They say that more wars have been fought over water than oil. Even if that's a now-dated statement, it still highlights the environmental, humanitarian, and national security implications of this report from SRI Consulting that concludes that global demand for water will exceed supplies by 56%... within 20 years.

Reader feedback:  Ethanol backdraft?

Rob Day: November 6, 2007, 2:15 PM
In response to various blog ramblings by yours truly, there have been quite a few very thoughtful comments emailed to me and posted on this site over the past few weeks, and it might be good to bring up a few as useful points for discussion... Nathanael Greene, who authors one of the best environmental policy insider blogs (Switchboard), wrote in response to a recent post on the possibility of a bubble in solar:
I would be interested in your thoughts on the potential for a significant dip in one part of the cleantech world to take the steam out of the entire sector. I speculated that this would be worst case outcome of the dropping price for ethanol in this post but of course a day...