Advanced Equities, the controversial and troubled money-raiser for high-profile Silicon Valley green startups like Fisker Automotive and Bloom Energy, is closing up shop, according to a Monday report from Fortune’s Dan Primack.
Advanced Equities paid a $1 million settlement to the Securities and Exchange Commission and sacked CEO Dwight Badger this summer over charges of misleading investors by, among other things, hugely overstating the sales backlog of fuel cell vendor Bloom Energy. The company has neither denied nor admitted the charges.
Primack reported Monday that he’s heard rumors of another round of subpoenas for the Chicago-based investment firm, related to fundraising for another well-known green technology company, though he said he hadn’t confirmed those rumors at the time. Calls to the company were transferred to a voicemail account that would not accept messages.
Advanced Equities has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in private equity for Silicon Valley venture capital firms such as Apex Venture Partners, Benchmark Capital, Khosla Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, primarily to fill out large capital-heavy rounds for startups like Fisker, Serious Materials, Bloom Energy, and SolFocus. But it has also had a long-time reputation for troubling business practices, as Greentech Media has been reporting since 2009 or so.
Fisker representatives told GigaOm the company expects “minimal impact” on the funds AE ran for it, which include its latest $100 million round. Fisker has raised more than $1.2 billion, but has struggled with recalls and reports of fires from its plug-in hybrid Karma sports cars. It has also halted work on its Delaware factory, meant to produce its mid-priced plug-in Project Nina sedans, amidst a halt to further access to its Department of Energy loan guarantee for the project.
As for Bloom Energy, the Silicon Valley fuel cell startup turned to Advanced Equities for help with a portion of its approximately $800 million in investment raised to date. Advanced Equities also set a value for its latest Bloom offering at $25.76 per share, which would add up to a $2.7 billion market value for the company -- significantly higher than the $1.8 billion valuation pegged to a June 2011 investment, as well as other reported values for Bloom shares that have changed hands in the past 12 months.
Here's a link to an SEC filing for a targeted $150 million private offering from Advanced Equities for a fund called GreenTech Investments III, and here's the filing on GreenTech Investment IV, also for a targeted $150 million, dating from March 2009.