Recent Posts:

General Motors Decides on Battery Maker for Volt—Will it Help or Hurt A123 IPO?

Michael Kanellos: August 29, 2008, 5:39 PM
The beauty contest is over. Unfortunately, we don't know the winner. Bob Lutz, chairman of General Motors, said in a press conference in Joliet, Ill. that the automaker has decided on a battery maker for the Chevy Volt, the hotly anticipated plug-in hybrid coming toward the end of 2010. Lutz, however, didn't say which of the two battery makers GM is working with has selected. The money-losing automaker has been working with two vendors: Compact Power, whch is a U.S. based subsidiary of South Korea's LG Chem (Life's Good with Chemicals) and Continental Automotive Systems. Continental has been working with A123 Systems. GM is also an investor in A123. For A123, the Volt...

Prediction Comes True! Miox Raises $19 Million

Michael Kanellos: August 27, 2008, 5:39 PM
Follow the chatter. A few weeks ago, we reported here that Miox, a company that's devised a system to purify water with salt, was in the midst of raising a new round. And today, the company said it pulled in $19 million to expand. In Miox’s system, electricity converts salt into sodium hypochlorite and/or mixed oxidants, which then get injected into water. Salt electrolysis has been around for decades–bleach giant Clorox started this way. Miox, however, claims that its onsite equipment is more electrically efficient than conventional products and has been optimized to squeeze the benefits of putting mixed oxidants in water. Using solids to disinfect has numerous...

Xcel Energy, Cuomo Reach Carbon Compromise

Daniel Englander: August 27, 2008, 12:11 PM
Xcel Energy and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo have reached an agreement requiring the utility to disclose climate change-related risks to shareholders. The compromise comes after nearly a year of negotiations between Cuomo and Xcel, one of the country's largest utilities and producers of greenhouse gas emissions, following the launch of an investigation into the disclosure of climate change-related financial risks in September 2007. Peabody Energy, Dominion, Dynegy, and AES Corp. were also targeted in the investigation, though none have yet agreed to the risk disclosure Cuomo has asked for. Xcel is now required to discuss the financial risks associated with state- and...

AVA Solar Continues Quest to be Next First Solar, Huge Round Soon to Close

Eric Wesoff: August 27, 2008, 9:00 AM
In their quest to create the next First Solar, VC investors are making enormous bets on new solar technologies, including the difficult Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) materials system. I've just learned from a very reliable investor source that AVA Solar, a CdTe photovoltaics manufacturer in Colorado, has received a term sheet for a $100 million round at a $750 million pre-money valuation, with $50 million of that round coming from DCM. A contact at AVA Solar declined to comment. Valuations in these stratospheric ranges are becoming the norm for solar startups with very high expectations and very low revenues such as Solyndra, Nanosolar and Miasolé. My source's investment firm chose...

Rumor: Solyndra Burning Through Nearly $15M a Month

Michael Kanellos: August 27, 2008, 5:37 AM
The cash consuming machine that is CIGS never fails to astound. Nanosolar, which makes copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar panels, confirmed with Dow Jones that it has raised $300 million in another round of financing. Sources have said for the past few weeks that Nanosolar was raising another round. Nanosolar already raised about $150 million, bringing their total now close to $450 million. The company, however, has garnered almost no revenues and only started shipping products, to a limited customer base, in December. But the company isn't the only one in this sort of situation. Solyndra, which we reported is trying to raise an additional $350 million, is burning...

Algae Oil Maker Solazyme Gets $45.4 Million More

Michael Kanellos: August 26, 2008, 4:51 AM
Solazyme is continuing to move away from the pack in algae oil. The South San Francisco-based company has raised $45.4 million in a Series C funding, according to PE Hub. Investors included Braemar Energy Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Harris & Harris group. The total includes $6.4 million in convertible securities. That brings the total raised by Solazyme, when grants and everything is mixed in, to close to $70 million by some estimates. The company is both one of the oldest algae oil companies (dating way back to the first half of the decade) and one of the most novel. Rather than grow algae in ponds or closed-in water tubes called bioreactors through...

Euro VC Posts Abysmal Quarter, Though Energy Surges

Daniel Englander: August 26, 2008, 12:25 AM
The European venture capital sector contracted by 35 percent in the second quarter, it's worst quarter in nine years. Roughly €858 million were invested over 167 deals, down from €1.33 billon in 286 deals during the same period last year. Investments in particularly strong EU portfolio areas like IT and healthcare were down 40 percent and 46 percent, respectively, on the quarter. The venture capital industry in Europe focuses traditionally on mid- to late-stage deals that funnel money to smaller, established companies. Compared with the startup culture in the U.S., European VCs tend to look for companies that have already proven themselves through commercial production or solid...