It's always fun to see how the mainstream journalists over-react to the latest short-term numbers, and how their editors feel compelled to over-dramatize every headline. Thus last week we saw an article in the NYT with the headline "Clean Tech's Future Dims as Financing Drops Off." Taking the very worst of the Q1 numbers we discussed a while back, the article literally asks: "Has the green bubble burst?" And paints a picture of cleantech funding drying up in the aftermath of a "hype cycle" and entrepreneurs being left out to dry.
As we've discussed, the quarterly numbers are significantly down, but at a rate pretty comparable to what happened to venture capital overall. The whole economy came to a crashing halt, after all. It's not easy times for entrepreneurs, but it's not like there aren't deals being done (in fact, see below).
And what bubble in the first place? Was there a solar bubble? Most probably -- as we've talked about here for a while now, the solar sector got frothy in 2007-2008, as the quotes in the article reflect. Was there a corn-based ethanol bubble? Definitely.
But to simply declare that there was a "green bubble", as if solar and biofuels made up the entirety of the investment opportunities in the sector? I don't know any investors arguing that sectors like water, energy efficiency, agriculture, etc. are over-capitalized. At least not yet (stay tuned). And smart investors have always had a broad view of what "cleantech" (or whatever phrase they prefer) means. So a bit of unnecessarily breathless reporting.
But what else would we expect from an industry with such a dim future as print newspapers?
So let's take the opportunity to mention all the deals from the past few weeks:
- Extremely pleased to report that Powerit Solutions, a Seattle-based vendor of automated smart grid solutions, has raised a $6mm round of financing led by Siemens Venture Capital, and including new investor ArcelorMittal's Clean Technology Fund, alongside existing investors @Ventures and Expansion Capital Partners.
- Superconductor vendor Zenergy Power announced a GBP 9.5mm PIPE (note: link opens pdf) from new and existing investors.
- Altira led with $10mm of a $30mm round for EPS Corp., an ESCO / energy intelligence services provider. Existing investors NGEN and Robeco also participated.
- China's Chint Solar has raised $50mm from investors including Cybernaut Growth Fund and Shanghai Alliance Investment.
- Nanomaterials startup SDCmaterials, with emissions control and other cleantech applications, has raised a $14mm Series B (note: pdf) led by Invus Financial Advisors and including existing investors Emerald Technology Ventures, BASF Venture Capital and individual investors.
- Israel-based ETV Motors has raised a $12mm first round of financing from Quercus Trust and 21 Ventures.
- Demand response / energy efficiency service provider CPower (fka Consumer Powerline) has raised a $10.7mm Series B led by new investor Mayfield Fund, and including existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Expansion Capital Partners, Schneider Electric Ventures, New York City Investment Fund and Consensus Business Group.
- Carbon capture technology developer Powerspan announced new financing of "over $50 million" (note: pdf) from new investors George Soros, Tenaska Energy, Inc., AllianceBernstein LP, and Persimmon Tree Capital LP, and returning investors NGEN Partners LLC, The Beacon Group, The Tremont Group, RockPort Capital Partners LP, Calvert, Angeleno Group, Fluor Corporation, and FirstEnergy Corp.
- Plastics-to-crude developer Plas2Fuel raised a $4.25mm first round of financing from Chrysalix, Saffron Hill Ventures and Reference Capital Management.
- Ausra raised $25.5mm in a new "equity facility". New investors KERN Partners, Generation Investment Management and Starfish Ventures joined existing investors including Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins.
- Green chemicals startup Glycos Biotechnologies has raised a $5mm Series A led by DFJ and DFJ Mercury.
- VentureWire reported that Crystal Solar raised a $10mm Series A in July of last year, from Oceanshore Ventures LP, Scatec Adventure LS, SIIF SARL of France, and David Bostwick.
- Solar-to-hydrogen startup Sun Catalytix has raised a $700k seed financing round from Polaris.
- A123 took in an additional $69mm in a round led by GE, with $15mm. Other investors were not disclosed.
- LED cooling company Nuventix has raised $4mm to close out an $18mm Series C originally announced in July of last year. Braemar (at $3mm) and Uniquest ($1mm) provided the new financing.
- Smart home vendor EnergyHub announced an undisclosed amount of Series A from .406 Ventures and Physic Ventures.