Greentech Startup Funding This Week

This week saw VC funding across greentech sectors in solar, EV charging, batteries, transmission, green IT and biofuels:

Sakti3, a Michigan-based lithium-ion battery developer, raised $3.2 million from General Motors Ventures, the $100 million venture arm of GM, according to The Detroit News.  The firm also received $1 million from Japan's Itochu Technology.  “The technology that Sakti3 is working on is very innovative,” Jon Lauckner, president of G.M. Ventures, said in an interview with the Detroit newspaper. “It’s quite different from standard electro-chemical cells, and it’s a technology not in the marketplace today. It has the potential of being a real game changer going forward.”  Sakti3 has already raised more than $15M from investors including Khosla Ventures and Beringea.

Satki3 -- the name does not come from a one-hit wonder from England in the early 80s -- is part of a group of companies touting solid-state batteries. Without liquid electrolytes, these batteries allegedly can provide more charges per volume than conventional ones. Planar Energy and Prieto Battery are seeking a similar nirvana.

Solaria, a maker of low-concentration silicon-based solar panels meant to be used on trackers, closed its Round D at $65 million.  New investors Adams Street Partners, Cycad Group, and Western Technologies joined CMEA Capital, DBL Investors, Sigma Partners, NGEN Partners, Mitsui Ventures, Savitr Capital and corporate partner enXco.

Calisolar raised $10 million in new funding, according to a regulatory filing with the SEC.  Calisolar builds multi-crystalline silicon solar cells with efficiencies greater than 16 percent using less energy than conventional processes.  Earlier this year, Calisolar raised $22.5 million and acquired 6N Silicon.  Investors and board members in Calisolar include Globespan Capital Partners, Ventures West, Yaletown Venture Partners, SDTC, Hudson Clean Energy and ATV.  Calisolar has raised more than $180 million in funding since its founding in 2006.

Coulomb, a builder and developer of car-charging stations, raised a $15M Round C.  Rho Ventures, Voyager Capital, Siemens Venture Capital, Hartford Ventures. Harbor Pacific Capital, LS Cable and LS Industrial Systems invested in this most recent round.  The question remains: are municipal charging stations a psychological salve and will EV owners prefer to charge at home?

Fallbrook Technologies raised another $6 million in its Round E from investors including NGEN and Rabobank, according to an amended IPO registration. Fallbrook is building an innovative transmission for vehicles and wind turbines and filed for a $50 million IPO back in February.  Here's the amended S-1Fallbrook has developed a transmission technology that improves the efficiency and performance of mechanical systems that run at different speeds between primary drive and operating drive.  Here's a link to a video that explains their technology. The firm has raised more than $60 million in VC since its founding.

Ambiq Micro, an early stage fabless semiconductor firm developing ultra-low power mixed-signal solutions for wireless electronics and energy-efficient computing, raised seed funding from The Frankel Commercialization Fund.

Cool Planet Biofuels raised $3 million from North Bridge Venture Partners, et al. to develop carbon neutral biogasoline.  The company is helmed by Mike Cheiky, most recently the CTO of fuel injection innovator Transonic Combustion.

Solazyme's Round D was joined by strategic investor Unilever and Sir Richard Branson.  Solazyme is an algae oil pioneer whose investors include Braemar Energy Ventures, Harris & Harris Group, Lightspeed VenturePartners, The Roda Group, and VantagePoint Venture Partners.


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