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Looking ahead to 2008, pt. 2:  Reader predictions

Rob Day: December 28, 2007, 7:16 PM
Thanks again to all of you who participated in the Cleantech Investing Readers' Survey over the past week.  Pretty good turnout, actually, esp. considering how many folks were on vacation and out of the office over the past few days...  As promised, we randomly selected a few participants to receive either a mug from demand response system provider (and @Ventures portfolio company) Powerit Solutions, or a USB memory stick from GreenTech Media -- we've emailed those folks already to get their addresses, so the rest of you will have to settle for our heartfelt gratitude... The results provide some pretty interesting predictions for 2008.  But first, it's useful to note that the...

Looking ahead to 2008, pt. 1:  Finally the exits?

Rob Day: December 27, 2007, 10:22 AM
Since the beginning of 2005 there have been something close to 700 cleantech venture capital financing rounds in North America (using a broad definition of "cleantech", of course).  Even accounting for multiple rounds per startup, this still means several hundred venture-backed cleantech startups have been invested in since the uptick in VC interest in the sector, around 2004 or so. And yet there haven't been many exits (good OR bad) since this dramatic upswing started.  That means a lot of venture dollars have gone into a lot of companies, with investors still waiting for their returns.  Sure, there have been some good indications of favorable exit potential:  IPOs like...

Year-end Cleantech Investing survey

Rob Day: December 21, 2007, 10:38 AM
Loyal Cleantech Investing readers -- We'd like to invite you to participate in a very brief year-end survey, to share your thoughts on 2007 and predictions for 2008.  This is your opportunity to share your opinions on the market with your peers and colleagues in the industry. Please click here to take the Zoomerang survey.  It being a busy time of year, we've kept it very short, it should only take you 5-10 minutes.  The deadline is a week from now:  Friday, December 28. To add to your motivation to participate, GreenTech Media has kindly offered up a few GTM USB memory sticks -- perfect for sharing your business plan or marketing materials at your next cleantech networking...

A big week for energy-efficient lighting deals

Rob Day: December 20, 2007, 11:30 AM
This week has already seen several new deal announcements and other developments in energy-efficient lighting:
  • Element Labs, a provider of LED-based products for entertainment, architecture and signage applications, has raised a $12.75mm Series B (note: link opens pdf), led by Expansion Capital Partners, who contributed $10mm of the round. Existing investor Sierra Ventures and lender Gold Hill also participated in the round.
  • Meanwhile, Ceelite, another developer of LED solutions for signage and other "highlight" lighting applications, announced a $4mm round of financing, with half coming from the Musser Group and the other half from undisclosed investors.
  • Orion Energy...

“Cleantech venture bubble” watch, pt 5:  VCs predict a cleantech bubble in 2008

Rob Day: December 18, 2007, 8:22 AM
We've talked a fair bit about all the buzz about a possible bubble in cleantech venture capital. So it's interesting to note this NVCA survey (link to PPT of results also found here), in which 80% of VCs surveyed expect that cleantech will attract higher levels of funding in 2008. In the same survey, when asked "Which single industry will be overvalued in 2008?", 61% of those surveyed picked cleantech (vs. 18% choosing Internet, 12% choosing media, and 9% choosing another sector). Leave aside questions about the survey methodology (why would only one sector be over-valued?) and the naturally contrarian reactions to the cleantech-focused hype cycle (when compared with the level of...

Warning:  Policy discussion ahead

Rob Day: December 16, 2007, 8:07 PM
That warning applies both to this column, and to the entire cleantech investing industry in 2008.  What with an election year, new agreements and critical choices due on climate change, and the aftermath of a compromise on energy legislation, expect policy discussions to dominate cleantech market headlines next year.  Regular readers of this column will know that we typically shy away from policy discussions, leaving that to those out there smarter and more informed on the subject.  But 'tis the season, and it was a quiet week in deals last week... So let's kick off the commentary by noting this interesting column by Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy (on the always interesting...

Technology-enabled services and cleantech

Rob Day: December 10, 2007, 7:37 PM
When you spend an entire weekend installing insulation in your attic all alone, it provides a chance to ponder a few questions. Such as "Can't somebody else do this?" And "Is there a venture-backable business opportunity here?" The answer to the first one is tough but clear if you live in New England, since the residential contractors up here seem to take it as their God-given right to charge you the equivalent cost of a decent used car for even the simplest home improvement project (no bitterness, no, none at all...). So no, getting somebody else to do it isn't the option it should be. But the answer to the second question is a bit less clear. Certainly, there have to be some...