Tuesday, December 19, 2006

SAM Private Equity becomes Emerald Technology Ventures

Interesting news last week that Netherlands-based Robeco has bought a majority stake in SAM Group, a cleantech-oriented "sustainable asset management" firm that was the parent company to SAM Private Equity (a long-time cleantech VC group).

The move seems targeted at public market offerings, since the managers of SAM Private Equity have bought out their portion of the business and re-branded it as Emerald Technology Ventures.

Emerald will take with it 16 staff members and $330mm under management.

Several recent cleantech deals to note:
  • WaterHealth International, which is developing clean drinking water solutions for developing countries, has closed a $11.25mm Series C. PEWW had broken the news of the upcoming round back in October. SAIL Venture Partners "anchored" the most recent $4mm add-on to a $7.25mm equity investment "anchored" by Dow Venture Capital that was announced earlier.
  • Indian electric car manufacturer REVA has raised a $20mm round of financing from DFJ, Global Environment Fund, and Mellon HBV Master Global Event Drive Fund LP. This represents GEF's first investment in India... The company has sold around 1,600 cars so far.
  • At the intersection of biotech and cleantech lies biofuels... ERA Biotech, a Spanish biotech company which claims bioenergy applications (ie: advanced enzymes) for their research, has raised a 1.4mm euro bridge financing. Invertec, Reus Capital Riesgo, Talde Capital II and Uninvest all participated in the financing, alongside several angels. A 5mm Series A is anticipated for 2007.
Finally, "venture capitalists... appear to be ready to stampede into clean technology..." But the NVCA's Mark Heesen worries about VCs being "lemmings" regarding energy investing. Useful cautionary thoughts, consistent with Heesen's past statements on cleantech, but I should point out that according to the NVCA survey cited in the article, 92 percent of VCs expect such investments to increase next year -- it's NOT that 92% of VCs are themselves going to be investing in energy tech, as Heesen says in the "lemming" interview. Also interesting is that the very same NVCA survey says that more than 90% of VCs expect increased investments into China and India next year... but apparently that's not a "lemming" move. In the end, the NVCA survey only confirms what everyone knows by now, that cleantech is one of the fastest-growing venture investment segments. But, growing too fast? That clearly remains an area of ongoing debate...

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