This week we've had the first tastes of Q2 numbers coming out from the Cleantech Group and Greentech Media. The indications are that dollar-wise, Q2 was a huge quarter for cleantech VC. But that it's mostly because of multiple large, later-stage deals. It should be noted that, because of their focus on clean/greentech, these numbers will be larger than most of the subsequent tallies that come out (such as Ernst & Young, etc.). But usefully, both group's tallies were remarkably consistent... The top line is that the Cleantech Group reports that cleantech VC across North America, Europe, India and China added up to $2B in the quarter. And Greentech Media's Eric Wesoff counted $1.3B in renewable energy VC in North America, Europe, Israel and Australia. Obviously a full apples-to-apples comparison will be impossible. But notably, within the energy category alone, the Cleantech Group counted up about $1.4B (leaving about $600mm for all the other cleantech categories). So they're clearly in the same neighborhood. Solar blew the doors off during the record quarter, at somewhere between $671mm (GTM) and nearly $800mm (CG). And biofuels also came on strong, although a distant second place, at nearly $300mm (both). Here's what particularly struck me: Both counts showed a big increase in the dollars -- CG's was a huge increase on their $1.25B Q1 tally, and GTM had counted around $1B in their Q1 tally -- but the indications are that the number of deals didn't change that much. GTM had it at 73 deals in Q1, compared to 74 deals in Q2. CG's was a bigger increase, from 79 to 96 transactions, but still it's quite clear that the average deal size went up quite a bit. It's especially clear in solar, where GTM's average solar transaction size went up from $19mm in Q1 to $29mm in Q2. CG pointed to five deals in solar thermal power in particular that added up to $278mm in funding. This is echoed in some other numbers from GTM, showing that Seed/ Series A rounds have declined from almost 60% of all deals in 2006-7, down to around 40% in Q1 2008. And since those deals will be much smaller than the Series B, Series C, etc. rounds, on a dollar basis the decline must be even bigger. It's no wonder that outsiders (and increasingly, vocal generalist VCs) are out there claiming that cleantech is a capital intensive sector. Because a very few, huge solar (and, to a lesser extent, biofuels and lighting) deals are just plain dominating the sectoral numbers right now. Fortunately, what these numbers show is that in rest of the broader cleantech market (water, materials, etc.), deal sizes remain reasonable. Deals from the past few days:
  • See GTM's Funding Roundup for news of DuraTherm's acquisition by Masdar Cleantech Fund and Virgin Green Fund, as well as fundings for Intelligent Energy, TranSiC, Silvigen, Ensartech, Integrity Block, and Manchester Bobber.
  • German solar developer Sulfurcell raised an EUR 85mm round of financing. Intel Capital provided EUR 24mm, Climate Change Capital Private Equity, AIG, Demeter Partners, Zouk Ventures and Bank Invest provided another 38mm, and the remainder came from existing investors.
Other news and notes: Cleantech clusters continue to form, this time in Florida... And Nigeria?... Here's an interesting perspective on clean energy from Kuwait... Finally, here's a sign of the times.