Monday, May 15, 2006

Catching up...

Some assorted items of interest from the past week or so:

John Doerr really, really, really likes cleantech/"greentech." And so do I (self-promotion alert -- I particularly enjoyed the highlighting of Tiger Optics, one of Expansion Capital's portfolio companies, check them out). And so does Mark Huang of GE Commercial Finance (update: another self-promotion alert, mentions Agile Systems, another one of Expansion Capital's portfolio companies, check them out too). All joking aside, all three aforementioned columns do a great job of highlighting some of the current debates and discussions going on in the cleantech VC community:
  • How do you define "cleantech" in the first place? The latest PWC Moneytree survey data for Q1, for example, seems to have cleantech deals scattered across a lot of different categories (batteries under "Electronics/ Instrumentation", energy efficiency technologies under "Telecommunications", and of course a hodgepodge under "Industrial/Energy", etc.). Not picking on PWC Moneytree, it's actually a good illustration of the simple fact that "cleantech" remains in the eye of the beholder, as we've discussed here before.
  • What kinds of investment periods should be expected in cleantech? Is the impact of regulations and policies greater in this investment area than in others?
  • Is the solar space getting too crowded? Whether it is or isn't, what's next?
Toward that last question, there has been a lot of talk in the cleantech investment community over the past few days about the very successful IPO of Basin Water (up to $17 at time of writing). Does this mean VCs will now get serious about water tech? Also: The results from the Ignite Clean Energy contest were announced -- no surprise, three solar startup winners out of five total prizes. Guess Dan Primack was right after all. (Red Herring profiled top prize winner Stellaris for those interested -- more info here, too).

Meanwhile, in other news:
  • Another biofuels project got financed -- Galveston Bay Biodiesel, in a Series B by Contango Capital Management and Chevron Technology Ventures;


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