The greentech industry got more good news about third-quarter investments this weekend, as PricewaterhouseCoopers and Dow Jones VentureSource reported increases over previous quarters.
Venture capitalists invested $1 billion in 73 deals, up 14 percent from the $877 million raised in 68 deals in the second quarter, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers report released Saturday.
The same day, Dow Jones VentureSource reported that renewable-energy investments jumped 66.15 percent to $1.08 billion in 18 deals in the third quarter, from $650 million in 26 deals in the second quarter.
Both totals are lower than the third-quarter numbers released by Greentech Media last month, which included deals from North America and Europe. The report found that venture capitalists invested a record $2.8 billion in greentech, more than twice the $1.3 billion VCs invested during the second quarter.
Aside from the regional differences, the groups include different segments and deals in their totals.
But the news of third-quarter increases isn't likely to reassure industry insiders who have watched greentech stocks bounce up and down like yo-yos in the last week.
One question has been whether the gyrating markets and concern about the global economy will lead to fewer public and private investments in greentech in the fourth quarter and beyond (see Solar Industry Talks Economy, VCs to Solar Startups: A Deal You Can't Refuse, Tax Credits Meet Financial Meltdown, Solar Industry Talks Economy, Solar Mergers: Guarding Against a Slumping Economy and Lehman's Fall to Create Greentech Woes).
Private equity already began to dip in the third quarter, according to a report New Energy Finance reported Thursday.
A decrease in private-equity funding drove the combined total for venture-capital and private-equity investments down 24 percent to $4.4 billion during the quarter from a record $5.8 billion tallied in the second quarter, according to the report.
PricewaterhouseCoopers warns that a venture-capital dip – but not a drought – is coming.
"While overall venture investing hasn't yet been impacted by the turmoil in the financial markets ... we do expect to see a dip in investing over the next several quarters," said Tracy T. Lefteroff, global managing partner of the venture-capital practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, in a written statement. "We also do not expect venture funding to dry up."
Lefteroff noted that venture capitalists have survived difficult economic times in the past.
"They are long-term investors and won't jump ship just because the times are tough," he wrote. "They may tighten their belts and those of their portfolio companies but they still have money in their coffers and will continue to make investments."
Funding deals were fairly small in the last week, in any case, with the largest round announced being $21 million raised by Soliant Energy.
But there's some evidence that larger deals could be coming soon. On Friday, Greentech Media senior analyst Eric Wesoff blogged about rumors of three potential fundings ranging as high as $80 million. If these turn out to be true, they will help boost confidence that funding hasn't dried up.
Here's a list of some of the deals officially announced in the last week:
- Concentrating-solar company Soliant Energy said Tuesday that it had raised $21 million in venture capital (see Soliant Lands $21M). Convexa Capital led the round. Additional investors included GE Energy Financial Services, RockPort Capital Partners, Nth Power, Trinity Ventures and Rincon Venture Partners. Soliant also said it plans to open a 40-megawatt plant late next year.
- TerraWatt Power LLC, asolar-inverter startup, is raising $1.5 million, Greentech Media wrote Wednesday (see TerraWatt Closing on $1.5M for Inverters). Inverters take the direct current generated by solar-power systems and convert it into the alternating current used by most household appliances. TerraWatt claims one of its key differences is that it disconnects from the grid during outages, directly supplying its users with electricity from their roofs.
- Imperium Renewables has raised $18 million from 13 existing investors, who have options to dole out an additional $3.5 million, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings (via the Seattle Times). Earlier this month, the troubled biofuel producer announced it had garnered an undisclosed amount of money from existing investors to pay off some of its debt (see Imperium 'Still Under Stress' After Recapitalizing).
- Synthetic-biology company Synthetic Genomics has raised 28.2 million Malaysian ringgit ($8 million) from Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group, according to The Star (hat tip to Earth2Tech for finding this story). In exchange, Genting received $1 million Synthetic Genomics shares, which represents approximately 2 percent of the voting interest in the company. Synthetic Genomics is developing genome technology to increase the yields of oil palm and other crops used to make biofuels, among other goals. The La Jolla, Calif.-based company, founded by genome entrepreneur Craig Venter, raised $30 million in 2005 from investors and an undisclosed amount of funding from oil giant BP last year.
- Israeli biodiesel startup Transbiodiesel Ltd. has raised $1.5 million from the AquAgro Fund, according to the Globes, an Israeli business newspaper. The newspaper also said that Transbiodiesel is partnering with an unnamed U.S. biodiesel company that pulls in $10 billion in sales annually. Transbiodiesel claims it has developed environmentally friendly and affordable enzyme-based catalysts for biodiesel production.
- ISE Corp., which sells hybrid-electric drive systems and control software for large buses and trucks, nabbed $5.5 million in the first phase of its fourth round of funding, Private Equity Hub reported last week. The Poway, Calif.-based company, founded in 1994, hopes to raise a total of $25 million in the round. Investors include Siemens Venture Capital, Natural Gas Partners and Rockport Capital Partners. Prior to this latest deal, ISE had raised about $38 million since 2004, according to PE Hub.
- Energy-management startup Adura Technologies said Thursday it had raised $5 million in its first round of funding. VantagePoint Venture Partners and Claremont Creek Ventures led the financing for the San Francisco-based company. Adura uses wireless technology to reduce the amount of electricity used by lighting in commercial buildings. The company will use the funding to go after more customers. Current customers include UC Berkeley, according to Earth2Tech.
- AMEE, a company that collects energy-consumption and emissions data and provides software to help calculate customers' carbon footprints based on that data, has raised $1 million in its first round of funding, Private Equity Hub reported Friday. O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures made the investment in AMEE, which has abbreviated its name from theAvoiding Mass Extinctions Engine.
- Lithium-battery and fuel-cell maker Ener1 (AMEX: HEV) said Thursday that it has agreed to take an 83-percent stake in South Korean lithium-ion battery cell producer Enertech International. Ener1 said it hopes the investment will help it expand its production capabilities at a time when major automakers are gearing up to launch a new generation of hybrid and electric vehicles. The company did not disclose how much it paid for its cut of Enertech.
-- Editor Jennifer Kho contributed to this article.