Recent Posts:

Vinod’s hybrids vs. biofuels argument

Rob Day: January 28, 2008, 7:30 AM
If you haven't before seen or heard Vinod's arguments in favor of biofuels and against hybrids, it's well worth reading the three-part column he wrote in Grist earlier this month. (Part I, Part II, Part III) Three quick reactions: 1. This is a very well-done argument which really points out the strengths of Vinod's highly analytical, deep-dive investment style. 2. It's a bit strange that it's set up as an argument about hybrids vs. biofuels, since as even Vinod notes (buried in the third part) these techs are probably complementary instead of competitive. Flex-fuel hybrids, and hybrid diesels, are already being developed. And while he rightly points to the emergence of more...

What else happened last week

Rob Day: January 27, 2008, 1:24 PM
We deferred mentioning the deals and other news from last week to focus on discussions about the looming recession and the numbers from last year, but a lot happened during the week. One of the reasons for moving this column over to GreenTech Media was to take advantage of their reporting about deals, etc., so as always please bookmark the GTM home page and check there regularly for more timely updates! Deals from the past week:

The health care venture bubble?

Rob Day: January 23, 2008, 5:58 PM
Now that we're almost a month into the new year, it's time to corral and sort out all the various cleantech VC tallies that have been put out there. So: Why isn't there more talk about the "health care tech bubble"? Check out the Dow Jones VentureSource annual roundup. By their count, cleantech investments in the U.S. totaled $2.5B over 187 investments, the dollar growth being 67% from 2006. Yes, significant growth. However, then note that the "health care" sector took in $10B over 671 investments. Yes, "only" a 17% growth in dollar amount over the $8.5B 2006 total, but that's an increase of $1.5B versus an increase of around $1B in their cleantech sector tally. And unlike in...

What will a recession mean for cleantech venture investors and startups?

Rob Day: January 22, 2008, 7:15 AM
We'll talk more about 2007 dealflow numbers and recent deals tomorrow, but today the big news is macroeconomic. International markets are melting down, the Fed is stepping in with a big emergency rate cut, and everyone is talking about the R-word. So what would a recession mean to cleantech venture investors and startups? There are four potential scenarios being discussed by investors: 1. There are those who argue that, in a recession driven in part by high energy costs, alternative energy generation and energy/ water/ materials efficiency plays can look even more attractive. This argument suggests that cleantech markets can be somewhat counter-cyclical, and that government...

Cleantech:  Increasingly a C-Suite priority

Rob Day: January 16, 2008, 8:03 AM
Apparently everyone got the memo that this was the week to announce the latest deals and other news...
  • General Motors announced an undisclosed amount of investment in cellulosic ethanol startup Coskata.  The company may take in additional strategic investor capital as well.  It's part of the company's Series B round, which is "nearly complete."  The big public bogey now is $1 per gallon ethanol...  Plenty of news and commentary on this one out there, given the high profile -- GTM had a nice summary.  This and the Morgan Stanley news below are just more signs of cleantech being elevated to the boardroom at the biggest companies around.  That's good news for the market in...

Why residential energy techs don’t get adopted

Rob Day: January 15, 2008, 8:17 PM
In the cleantech market there are a lot of very smart, worthy ideas for energy techs aimed at residential applications: energy efficiency plays, distributed generation and backup power plays, etc. It's important to remember that there are two very different markets for these kinds of applications -- new homes and retrofits. In sales to new homes, the key target customer is the builder. Installation issues are relatively lessened, costs are more easily bundled into the overall house value, and it's a single corporate sale rather than multiple individual homeowner sales. Nevertheless, the retrofit market is significantly larger and in many cases critical to the upside revenue...

Deeya, EnerTech Environmental, StreamControl, and investor news

Rob Day: January 9, 2008, 6:20 PM
  • Flow-battery (large-scale energy storage) developer Deeya Energy has raised a $15mm Series B round, led by NEA and including existing investors BlueRun, DFJ and DFJ Element.  Some fo the capital will be used to fund development of a factory in India.  VentureBeat and GTM also had write-ups.
  • EnerTech Environmental, which is developing plants to capture energy from wastewater sludge, has raised a $42mm second round, led by Citigroup and Masdar, and including Nimes Capital and CNM.
  • Cleantech investors in the...