Bloom Energy, the high-profile solid oxide fuel cell company, just raised another $150 million according to Term Sheet. Previous investors have included Advanced Equities, Apex Venture Partners, DAG Ventures, GSV Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mobius Venture Capital, New Enterprise Associates, SunBridge Partners, and Goldman Sachs,
Bloom was Kleiner's first greentech investment, and this funding takes Bloom's total VC financing to more than $650 million, nearing the Solyndra line.
Years ago I obtained some communications from Advanced Equities, believed to be one of the largest investors in Bloom, that was predicting an IPO in 2009.
There is still not a single, pure-play, public fuel cell company that has experienced anything close to profitability. It's difficult to believe that Bloom is anywhere close to being profitable despite the plundering of the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) they enjoyed.
Bloom largely sells its fuel cells in California because federal and state credits can amount to more than $8.00 per watt. Bloom has appointed an international salesperson, Girish Paranjpe, so the firm is searching for incentive programs elsewhere. Bloom also sells its fuel cells as a service -- a fuel cell PPA, as it were -- to take some of the pain out of the initial investment.
Bloom's high headcount, high burn rate, and presumably negative margins, along with a less-than-open IPO market, indicate a rocky road ahead. I would also suggest that Bloom's green credentials are debatable.
ClearEdge Power, another fuel cell firm, except with PEM technology and a CHP component, just raised a $73.5 million round led by new investor Artis Capital Management, along with Austria's Güssing Renewable Energy, strategic investor Southern California Gas Company, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), and existing investor Kohlberg Ventures.