Recent Posts:

There are no more good solar deals

Rob Day: May 29, 2008, 3:28 AM
OK, gross overstatement in the title for this column, admittedly intended to grab attention. But something that's been becoming clear for some time now, and was reinforced for me at yesterday's fun Greentech Media PV vendor showcase, was that the innovation backlog and the overwhelming VC interest in the sector over the past few years have made it a very challenging sector for venture investors now. The market for solar generating systems is big and growing attractively. Much of it looks like semiconductor technology, and there have been some successful IPOs in the sector, so it naturally draws VC interest. A lot of VC interest. The Cleantech Group tallied up around $4.6B...

Some scattered thoughts on a Friday

Rob Day: May 22, 2008, 4:11 PM
First of all, comes the news today (from Jonathan Shieber at VentureWire) that Element has done a first close on their latest fund at $270mm, and that it's likely they'll "fly past" their $400mm stated target. A very good example of how the sector continues to shift toward later stage: One LP (LACERS) reports that Element plans to allocate only 20% of the fund to early stage investments, with the rest going to expansion stage and later stage. They're far from alone, and this news is proof of the continued strong LP interest in the sector. Secondly, on the topic of biofuels and food prices (headline stuff these days), stay tuned for an upcoming report from New Energy Finance on...

FloDesign, BrightSource, and GreenFuel

Rob Day: May 18, 2008, 7:50 AM
  • Solar continues to be on a roll, with BrightSource Energy announcing a new $115mm round of financing., BP Alternative Energy, Statoil Hydro Venture, and Black River all signed on as new investors, while existing investors VantagePoint, DBL Investors, DFJ, and Chevron Technology Ventures all also participated.  [5/22 edit: moved VantagePoint in the list to acknowledge that they were actually the first institutional investors in...

Greentech Media, Gevo, and Genomatica

Rob Day: May 13, 2008, 4:29 AM
Three interesting deals announced today:
  • (Self-promotion alert) Congrats to Greentech Media on their $2.75mm Series B.  EGORA Holding and the MA Green Energy Fund co-led the round, which also included existing investors Lightspeed and Northpoint Private Equity, and with new investor King Hill Capital also joining in.  Have to say, I'm impressed with the progress the company has made since launching last year -- and no, they didn't pay me to say that.
  • VentureWire had the first mention of two big deals today:  Gevo, a developer of biobutanol, raised a $17mm Series C from new investors Burrill and Malaysia Life Sciences Capital Fund, as well as existing investors Khosla...

“Hokum” and the decline in early-stage cleantech VC

Rob Day: May 12, 2008, 2:05 PM
Ran across this interesting article on full of useful tips for investors who "know that human-caused global warming is hokum."  I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've seen the word "hokum" written this century.  The best line refers to the "clueless U.S. venture capital community"... "throwing their investors' money at futile chimeras based on the idea of a climate crisis." Apparently either we VCs really are clueless or we fundamentally disagree (or, I suppose, both).  Because according to recently released numbers, cleantech was one of the few areas to see increased VC spending in Q1. Ernst & Young/ Dow Jones VentureOne announced their tally for Q1 last week. ...

Israel Cleantech, Firefly and Range Fuels

Rob Day: May 6, 2008, 3:16 AM
  • Pleased to note Israel Cleantech Ventures' announcement that they have reached a final close on their first fund at $75mm, above the original target of $60mm.  Robeco Private Equity and Piper Jaffray joined other institutional and family fund LPs in backing the group.  Good guys over at ICV, so it's great to see.

Fun with headlines

Rob Day: May 2, 2008, 6:32 AM
Pleased to point folks to the first of a regular series of columns I'm going to be writing for Mass High Tech, Boston's leading tech business paper.  Should be a good way to share a bit more about what's going on in this region in particular, as the local cleantech cluster grows quickly.  But a little tip to everyone:  Be careful when someone else edits a headline for you, the original headline was supposed to be "New England needs more experienced entrepreneurs in cleantech".  A positive call to action to all those experienced entrepreneurs out there to come join us in the sector.  It was NOT "New England clean tech needs more experience," the headline actually used, which could...