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Guest Blogger Eric Wesoff Covers the Week in Cleantech

Eric Wesoff: February 28, 2008, 11:42 AM
Rob Day, pioneering renewable energy VC investor, blogger and all-around good guy is on vacation in much sunnier climes this week and has given me the honor of filling in for him. My name is Eric Wesoff and I’m a senior analyst at Greentech Media and the author of the Venture Power Report. Here’s this week’s Cleantech Investing blog, now with slightly higher snark. Stealth Solar Stealthy solar firm Solexel is listed on Technology Partner’s website and on KP’s website but information is scant. They do have some job listings for epitaxial silicon engineers and MEMS engineers and the MEMS aspect is intriguing. Their write-up claims that they develop, “disruptive,...

Squeegees and t-shirts and air-powered cars

Rob Day: February 23, 2008, 6:30 PM
Lots happened this past week:
  • Sub-One Technology, an advanced coatings company that helps infrastructure resist corrosion and reduce friction, raised a $24mm Series C led by Nomura and including GE Energy Financial Services, Chevron, and ATV. Perhaps the company's products could be used on the proposed $3B ethanol pipeline that's being talked about for bringing the fuel from Iowa to the Northeast.

More money for Tesla

Rob Day: February 20, 2008, 7:22 AM
Last week Tesla Motors closed on another $40mm in bridge financing co-led by Chairman Elon Musk and Valor Equity Partners -- haven't seen yet anywhere if other investors took part, but it wouldn't be surprising. At the Piper Jaffray Clean Technology and Renewables Conference in NYC, where a Tesla Roadster is parked right out front in the Madison Ave. courtyard of the New York Palace, the company presenter also mentioned that they have a "clear path to our Series D E later this year," which the FT reported could be as much as $250mm including equity and debt, "and an IPO next year," which may also be part of that $250mm total. I think I also heard the presenter say that Musk now owns...

The two kinds of disruptive clean technologies

Rob Day: February 18, 2008, 9:41 AM
Almost all VCs will say that they look to invest in "disruptive" technologies -- new products or systems where the value proposition is so markedly better in comparison to the incumbent choices that the market will have little choice but to go with the new option. Venture capital, needing to see rapid growth potential, naturally needs to see such opportunities, so it's easy for VCs to say that they're looking for Disruptive Technologies. But VCs mean different things when they say this. And in cleantech, the differences between what I'll call Compatible Disruptive Technologies and Incompatible Disruptive Technologies are, perhaps, even more stark than in other sectors. Compatible...

Big solar deals keep rollin’ in

Rob Day: February 10, 2008, 7:04 PM
  • Germany-based Odersun has raised a EUR 40mm Series B, led by Virgin Green Fund, and including participation by PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund, AGF Private Equity, as well as existing investors DHTV and Advanced Technology & Materials.  The company will use the funds, as well as other funds raised, to build a second manufacturing plant for their thin-film solar, currently being integrated into accessories like messenger bags, but with additional potential for building-integrated PV.
  • Thinner-silicon solar cell developer Suniva raised a $50mm Series B for commercialization of their technology, which they say will be as cheap as conventional electricity.  NEA and Advanced...

Deals and info from the past week

Rob Day: February 2, 2008, 1:26 PM
  • GTM this past week told us about several cleantech VC deals including:
    • AqWise (wastewater treatment)... [2/4 correction:  Heard from Gene Dolgin at Israel Cleantech Ventures that the original source I'd used here was incorrect in some of their numbers, and instead that the accurate story was that "Israel Cleantech purchased 11% of the company in a secondary transaction in a deal that valued the company at $10M"]
    • Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide took an approximate 25% stake in Asola (solar PV) for an undisclosed sum.
    • Green Plug (advanced power strips) took in an undisclosed amount of first-round funding from Peninsula Equity Partners.
    • Israeli solar thermal power...