Recent Posts:

Go big (and later-stage) or go home, pt 3

Rob Day: April 25, 2008, 8:12 AM
The updates are coming fast and furious on this topic recently... If you have a chance before it goes to sub-only archives, read the PE Week story on Kleiner's new growth-stage (for companies, spin-outs, etc. with revenue traction already) cleantech fund, which could end up being over $400mm. According to the article, Al Gore and John Doerr have been doing a roadshow with LPs recently. At least one member of Goldman Sachs' Special Situations Group has joined the team already.  The article also quotes a placement agent who hadn't heard of this fund but had been approached by another fund lately with a similar idea. ...and the cleantech investment community continues to go bigger...

Go big or go home, pt 2

Rob Day: April 24, 2008, 6:32 PM
Today's chatter: After our post earlier this month regarding the embiggening of cleantech venture capital firms, Jonathan Shieber at VentureWire today wrote about the ongoing fundraising efforts among cleantech specialist firms. He specifically mentioned expectations that RockPort will soon close a fund at more than $450mm; NGEN Partners seeking to raise a new fund at $500mm; Element Partners seeking $400mm for their second fund; and the Westley Group seeking $100mm for their first cleantech fund. With the exception of the last one, naturally, in all three other cases these would represent significantly larger funds than their previous efforts. Some deals to mention over the last...

Happy Earth Day

Rob Day: April 22, 2008, 5:54 AM
While we usually focus on the investment opportunities in cleantech here on this site, today's a day for getting smart and taking some personal action...   Unfortunately, big change isn't easy -- noticed there were just as many cars on the road this morning (including yours truly's, mea culpa) as any other day. So, here are a few easy things you can do today:
  • If you're in the Boston area today, join us at the REBN networking event this evening at Boston University, co-sponsored by the BU Energy Club and @Ventures.  Take public transportation if you can...  Mingle with your colleagues in renewable energy innovation, chat about possible solutions, and then go next door to Fenway...

The Innovation Cycle and the Commercialization Cycle

Rob Day: April 21, 2008, 6:53 PM
Looking forward to seeing everyone at our REBN-East networking event at Boston University on Tuesday night. As a topic for discussion, I'll throw this thought out there: Had the pleasure of visiting NREL last week as part of a productive trip organized by the New England Clean Energy Council. There, I and around a dozen other VCs from the Boston area were presented to by several of the Lab's researchers in areas like solar PV, biofuels, energy storage, etc. It was a good opportunity to once again peak "under the hood" at a DOE energy lab, to get a quick overview of some of the world-class research being done there. It was necessarily a brief overview, but one thing that came...

Cleantech VC investments down in Q1

Rob Day: April 15, 2008, 11:24 AM
Over the past week or so we've gotten a couple of data points indicating that VCs are pulling back a bit from the cleantech sector, or at least from some of the hotter sectors in the space. The Cleantech Group pointed to a big drop-off in Q1 cleantech VC totals in North America, Europe and Israel -- from $1.6B in Q4 down to $1.25B last quarter. They note that the Q1 total still represented a 42% increase on 1Q07 totals, but still, that's a more than 20% decrease in dollar totals from Q4, which itself was down from Q3. The drop-off was mostly led by (in)activity in North America, where dollar totals fell from $1.23B in Q4 to $873mm in Q1. Importantly, the pull-back was even more...

MIT Energy Conference and other events

Rob Day: April 14, 2008, 4:52 PM
Very much enjoyed attending the MIT Energy Conference this past weekend. It has become the best of all the student-run conferences on energy technology, attracting attendees from all over the world, and is also one of the better networking opportunities for cleantech VCs on the east coast. They always seem to get some interesting speakers (last year it was Jeff Immelt, this year John Doerr and Jim Rogers), and hundreds of attendees. Doerr gave his usual stump speech (receiving some good natured ribbing later by Rogers and Bob Metcalfe), mixing some inspirational thoughts, some examples from Kleiner's own greentech activity, and some plain talk during Q&A. For example: over the...

Odds and ends at the end of the week

Rob Day: April 11, 2008, 5:47 PM
A few things of potential interest...
  • A good tool for all you cleantech VCs and Founders out there: Joel Moxley, an EIR at Northbridge, came up with a pretty useful prior-art search engine, PriorSmart. Check it out.
Deals from the past week:
  • Evolutionary Genomics, which is developing biofuel feedstocks with improved yields, has raised a round of financing (amount undisclosed) from Altira Group.