Recent Posts:

The “what if” factor

Rob Day: July 28, 2009, 4:48 PM

Perhaps the single biggest difference between cleantech and other venture sectors is the "what if" factor.  As in, what if something comes out of left field and blindsides...

That big sucking sound you hear…

Rob Day: July 22, 2009, 11:21 PM

... is the sound of China deciding to become a big player in solar project installations, overnight.

It's clear that China is going to be a dominant force in cleantech in the coming decades, starting immediately.  But what that will mean for cleantech VCs remains very much unclear.  What is clear is that cleantech VCs need to start getting smart about that factor, asap.  And thus, so should their LPs.

But should cleantech VCs start investing in China?  It's not apparent that US-based investors do very well investing in China, at least without having a local presence on the ground.  Since most cleantech-specialist VCs don't have that, are they vulnerable to being left out?  There are...

Tidbits from the past week

Rob Day: July 19, 2009, 4:35 PM

It continues to feel like things are picking up a little bit in the cleantech venture world, but if so, just a little bit.  I continue to see lots of cleantech startups that are having a surprisingly hard time raising capital, given decent internal progress and good market prospects.  What deals are happening appear to be pretty small ones, some smallish Series A rounds, some smallish follow-ons, some extensions of previous rounds: deals done simply to pad out cash reserves or add a strategically valuable investor.  Not a lot of "inflection point" deals, ones where the capital is intended to dramatically accelerate a company's internal development and growth.  Entrepreneurs would do...

The hidden dealflow:  Secondaries

Rob Day: July 14, 2009, 8:24 AM

While we discuss the numbers being tracked around new venture capital dollars into cleantech, in the background there's a totally different type of deal that goes on, and especially right now. 

In a "Secondary" transaction, a new investor buys the existing equity of a current investor in a startup.  It can be done in conjunction with a new funding, but often doesn't bring any new capital into the company at all.  It can be a specific acquisition of a company's equity from an existing investor to a new investor, or it also can happen more indirectly as an entire venture portfolio gets sold from a VC firm to a new institutional investor. Typically the seller of the equity or portfolio...

Back in the saddle

Rob Day: July 7, 2009, 4:12 PM

Over the past week or so, we've gotten the initial Q2 cleantech venture tallies from GTM (85 deals, $1.2B), the Cleantech Group (94 deals, $1.2B), and NEF (note: link opens pdf) ($1.4B), and the picture is that investors are starting to get back into activity again.

Granted, in terms of dollar amounts the activity remains below the pace of a year ago, but the number of deals is comparable to that from 2008, with GTM's Eric Wesoff counting 85 deals around the world in Q2 2009, compared with 350 deals for all of 2008.  In GTM's full Greentech Innovations Report for the quarter, Wesoff notes that while investment activity is rebounding, the quarter didn't see any huge $100mm solar or...