Three deals of interest, that lie outside of strict VC activities:
- US Renewables Group, a project finance firm that is building and managing a portfolio of renewable energy generation assets (e.g., landfill gas, biomass, geothermal, small-scale wind and solar), announced a first close of $80M in a round led by Rustic Canyon Partners. The ultimate size of the fund is expected to be $250M. The funding by venture capital firm Rustic Canyon is similar to Vantage Point's investment in New Energy Capital. In both cases, venture capital firms investing directly in clean technologies are also looking to put money at play in the project finance side of clean technology, a critical and somewhat unmet need in the industry. Will these investments in project finance provide VC-level returns? Perhaps, perhaps not, but either way these VCs are probably also looking at the additional strategic value of a close relationship with a project financier in their industry.
- Bion Environmental Technologies, which offers technology for the remediation of animal waste from large-scale agricultural operations, announced a $1.9M convertible debt offering. Bion Environmental (Pink sheets: BNET) thus also triggered conversion of existing debt into common shares. Investors were undisclosed.
- Finally, in another example of the many varieties of private equity involved in cleantech investing, last week water purification technology firm Miox was bought out by an investor group led by Entrada Ventures, with participation by Flywheel Ventures, existing investors, and others. "A controlling interest" was acquired for $16M of debt and equity. Last year Miox had $7M in revenue. Principals from Entrada Ventures are also taking senior management roles with the company, and -- having served the role of "male praying mantis" for Miox -- Entrada will now cease to exist.