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 worthwhile versus the savings. A good example of how smart approaches to service plays in cleantech might be one of the missing links in growing energy tech markets and jobs -- all the technological innovations are great and all, but someone's got to actually install and implement these solutions in a customer-friendly way.
Anyways, on with the deals and news grab bag:
- Serious Materials has raised a $60M Series C. Mesirow Financial led the round, which included new investors Enertech Capital, Cheyenne, and Saints Capital. Previous investors including New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Foundation Capital, Rustic Canyon Partners, Navitas Capital, and Staenberg also participated.
- Environmental Technologies Fund led a new $10M financing round into Nujira (efficiently-powered cell tower tech), with existing investors also participating.
- Sungevity raised a $6M Series B led by Greener Capital.
- Swedish LED startup GLO AB raised a SEK82M Series B, including new investors Hafslund Venture AS and Agder Energi Venture AS, as well as existing investors Provider Venture Partners, Teknoinvest, Nano Future Invest, LU Innovation, and LUAB, along with the founders and employees of GLO.
- Liquidia Technologies raised a $7M round of financing led by Canaan Partners and including Pappas Ventures, NEA, Wakefield Group and Firelake Capital.
- Glacier Bay has taken in an additional $10M in funding led by the Westly Group, and including NEA and Quercus Trust.
- Speaking of the Westly Group, they closed their second fund at $120M.
- Energy and environmental software vendor Hara has raised a $14M Series B led by JAFCO Ventures alongside Nth Power and existing investor Kleiner Perkins.
- Barclays and NGP Energy Technology Partners have made a "significant" investment into American Wind Capital Company.
- Will 2010 finally be the year we see production from the big-named CIGS players? Looks like both Nanosolar and Miasole have finally got manufacturing facilities up and ready to go...
- Is Silicon Valley finally figuring out how much cleantech innovation is happening outside of Silicon Valley? Note the subsequently panicky tone of the headline of this article...
- Congrats to Whitney Rockley on joining Emerald -- and congrats to Emerald on snagging her!
- Some thoughts on cleantech from Foundation Capital.
- Okay, VCs, step aside -- Google's gonna figure out that whole heliostat problem for you.
- On the subject of general VC stuff, here's a cogent argument against overly elevating the role of VCs in economic value creation... Some investors ask: "Should LPs keep chasing after the big brand GPs?"... And here's some good advice from a VC for entrepreneurs, on how and when to pitch.
- Definition of a crowded market: Here's a list (a "sampling", actually) of 11 algal biofuel efforts located in Southern California alone.
- Hmmm... strikes me there must be some sampling bias in these results: The "Global Cleantech 100" list that came out included 55 US-based companies, and not a single Chinese company.
- Haven't read it yet, but this new GTM report on grid-scale storage looks potentially interesting (hint, hint, my friends).
- Renaissance Man: I've been enjoying Excessive Entanglement, a novel by author Nick D'Arbeloff. Those readers in the Boston area may also recognize Nick as the Executive Director of the New England Clean Energy Council.
Finally, it has basically nothing to do with cleantech, but this press release has to be the clear front-runner for most incomprehensible headline of 2009. Enjoy!