Recent Posts:

Massachusetts’ big energy efficiency news, and some thoughts on FITs

Rob Day: January 29, 2010, 9:50 PM

Big news today in the state of Massachusetts, where state officials announced a plan to pour $2.2B into energy efficiency measures, including a target of tripling the number of home energy audits, etc.  On a per capita basis, at least, it would put Massachusetts ahead of any other state in the U.S.  A terrific example, a great initiative...  Great to see!  It will make Massachusetts an even more attractive region for energy efficiency startups, tech or otherwise.

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On other policy topics... I haven't spoken much about feed-in tariffs here in this column.  For one thing, the economist in me tends to favor simple tax-based solutions rather than mandates or price setting, so...

Yep, that’s right…

Rob Day: January 25, 2010, 10:18 AM

... a $350M Series B for Project Better Place.  At a pre-money of $900M.  And bear in mind, this doesn't include additional financings that have gone into the company's regional subsidiaries, such as in Israel and Australia.

This should really mess up the Q1 cleantech VC tallies when they come out!  Because as longtime readers already know, the headlines are driven by dollar totals, not deals.

And we've already got some head scratching results now to think about as Q4 totals continue to come out.  Last week saw the release of the MoneyTree survey (US tally from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters), and the results were a little bit at...

Best wishes to Ray Anderson

Rob Day: January 22, 2010, 2:29 AM

Am en route back to Boston from the Clean Tech Investor Summit, which took place in an incredibly soggy Palm Springs, necessitating a lot of diverted and canceled flights.

Despite the problems participants had getting to and from the event thanks to freakish weather, it remained the very well-attended, hyper-networking, content-laden event I remembered from the last one I went to, four or five years ago.  A great event for catching up with fellow cleantech investors on the left coast (and not a few east coasters made the trip out as well).  I will attend again for sure.

A particular treat for me was that a lot of the content was somewhat of the "life goes full circle" variety,...

Major change in the cleantech VC industry… and over-experienced investors?

Rob Day: January 20, 2010, 11:53 AM

We're going to look back upon 2010 as a time of major change in the cleantech venture industry.

I haven't heard yet of many established specialized cleantech venture firms scaling back, but it will happen, starting this year.  Certainly there have been a few of the more fledgling efforts to create new specialist firms that have floundered due to the bad fundraising environment over the past 18 months.  And now we're seeing scale-backs at generalist firms (such as Atlas Venture, and Polaris which PE Hub is reporting is raising $500M for their sixth fund, versus $1B for their last one).  As generalists shrink their funds, some are doing more cleantech, but many are going "back to their...

Cleantech VCs still heart capital intensity

Rob Day: January 13, 2010, 10:44 AM

First of all, maybe take a minute today to give to the relief efforts in Haiti.  The US State Department is recommending the Red Cross...

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Kanellos of GTM posted what I think is one of the more important cleantech VC quotes of the year, citing Bruce Pasternack of CMEA as saying, "I don't know if we'd make a Solyndra-type investment today."  He was apparently referring to the capital-intensity of Solyndra and companies like that, and saying that if another investment opportunity like that came along then CMEA might pass on the basis of that alone.  Kanellos concludes that "The big deals are done."

Kanellos' statement is a bit of an...

The trickle-down effect

Rob Day: January 11, 2010, 11:39 AM

2010 may be looking up economically (although I'm personally feeling like we're headed for a double-dip, but let's stay optimistic), and yet 2010 may not be as happy a fundraising environment for cleantech startups as many would hope.

Why?  Because there's a lag between when venture firms raise their capital and when they can deploy it.  And 2009 was the worst year for VC fundraising since 1993, according to the NVCA (note: link opens pdf).

Only about half as many funds successfully raised money as we've seen in other years of the past decade.  And the dollar amounts dropped similarly.

VC funds are typically raised in a fairly consistent two to three year cycle.  So when you see a...

Cleantech Investing reader predictions for 2010

Rob Day: January 7, 2010, 4:44 PM

Quick reminder:  If you've been missing the dealflow notices that used to appear on this column, they've moved over to Twitter so they can be timelier (and a lot less work).

Anyways, many thanks to all the readers who participated in this year's CI Reader Prediction Survey.  We got lots of good responses, and there's a lot of agreement out there about the coming year, surprisingly to me.

In terms of survey participants, it appears to have been a good mix of entrepreneurs, investors, corporate managers, and service providers, with a smattering of researchers, government/NGO types, and others thrown in.  Lots of entrepreneurs and investors.  Geographically, more than 80% of...