Recent Posts:

A123: A deeper look

Rob Day: September 27, 2009, 9:38 PM

Many cleantech investors were cheered by the successful IPO of A123 this past week

I noted a very interesting column on PE Hub (sub req'd), by Lawrence Aragon, one of the finer private equity journalists out there.

(We need to caveat all this by acknowledging that it's unlikely much of the VCs' returns have been realized yet, there's typically a lock-up period.  So here's hoping the market valuation holds up.  Still, Lawrence's approach of using current valuations is still quite useful for our illustrative purposes...)

Lawrence takes a look at estimated investment totals and returns for major VCs in the company, and concludes that these investors didn't produce "a huge return",...

A grab bag of news-ish stuff

Rob Day: September 23, 2009, 4:15 PM

Been remiss in updating this column recently, it's been a busy time on the investment front.  But I also took time to have a residential home energy audit and "Step 1" retrofit done by Next Step Living, a local Boston-based firm.  If you're in the New England region, I definitely recommend it, especially if you're a gas heat customer.  They sent two smart guys out for 3 hours, brought their air blower door and infrared camera to identify the problem areas, showed me a bunch of things I could do with good economic paybacks, did a fair amount of air-sealing while they were there, and took care of all the rebates, etc., so it really didn't end up costing me that much, more than...

Fingers crossed for A123

Rob Day: September 11, 2009, 2:21 PM

Cleantech could really use some venture-backed exits to help both further validate the sector as an investment area, and generally boost investor spirits in this tough time.  Plus, it would be great to see some big IPOs out of subsectors other than solar.  Thus, here's hoping A123's IPO happens smoothly and successfully.

Of course, it's not their first attempt, as their timing back in 2008 was bad once the economy started crushing everyone.  For a blast from the past (and additional proof that yours truly can be pretty wrong at times), see this post I wrote back then about the company and their investors.  Also, here's Kanellos' take and Wesoff's take on the data from the S-1.


A different take

Rob Day: September 9, 2009, 5:14 PM

In my last post, I said some pretty pessimistic things about the next 12 months.

I do want to note that alternative viewpoints are also out there, as well.  Check out Eric Wesoff's take, for example... 

It’s going to get worse before it gets better

Rob Day: September 9, 2009, 4:50 PM

I'm at the Cleantech Forum in Boston this week.  As always, a great networking event, they've really honed the model here at the 23rd edition of the series.  For those of you into such things, you can follow various tweets on the conference, including far too many from yours truly, with the #cleantechforum hashtag...

It's notable, however, how few west coast investors are attending this event.  Now, bay area VCs are always pretty loathe to travel outside of the 650 area code, but still, it's clear that even fewer made this trip than would have this time last year.  Why?  Perhaps some travel budgets are smaller, especially for the smaller shops, but really this is instead an indicator...

Proving clean technology works

Rob Day: September 2, 2009, 10:43 AM

The headline-grabbing news this week is Khosla Venture's recent fund closings, of their $275M seed fund and $800M "main fund".  It's good to see more seed capital available in the sector -- as we've talked about here before, things have probably shifted too heavily toward late stage deals over the past few quarters, leaving a critical funding gap at the seed stage for cleantech startups.  And it's also good, I think, to see such seed efforts split out into a separate fund from later-stage efforts.  In many of the larger recent cleantech funds, seed and growth stage have been conflated within the same fund, which sets up some internal management challenges and also from an LP's...