Monday, January 15, 2007

2006 Cleantech investments total $2.9B... and other catch-ups

  • The Cleantech Venture Network released early data last week on 2006 sectoral venture investments, and they tracked deals totaling $2.9B. Of that, $2.1B was in energy technologies; and of that, $1.3B was in energy generation. The group stated that energy investments nearly doubled from 2005, and that sectoral investments overall went up 78%. These represent just the dollar amounts, and it will be even more interesting to see the number of deals this represents, and what the median deal size was, for all of the various cleantech sectors.
A small prediction: The total amount of cleantech venture dollars invested will likely go down in 2007. Why? Because the significant growth in "venture dollars" invested in energy generation technologies from 2005-2006 was in many ways driven by non-traditional investments, such as fundings of solar companies intended to help build out their production lines. While some VCs may have participated in these financings, they do somewhat skew the total dollar figures, since the rounds are necessarily much larger than your traditional venture financing -- we saw back in Q3 that a mere 5 deals out of 47 made up 60% of the "venture dollars" tracked in cleantech in that quarter. Such mega-financings have mostly gone into solar and biofuels. And it's only an educated guess, but while there will be more such large fundings in solar and biofuels in 2007, it will probably be a smaller number.

Note that this only refers to total dollar amounts. The number of deals done in cleantech may continue to go up, as LP interest is still strong and more and more investors are getting into the space in one way or another.
  • Chemical detection system developer Innov-X Systems announced a $27mm round of financing from Summit Partners. The company's handheld chemical detectors have environmental monitoring applications. Revenues are now "approaching the $50 million mark."
  • VentureWire last week reported on the recent financing of electric car manufacturer Think Global. Here's an excerpt:

It seems the rumors of the death of the electric car have been greatly exaggerated.

A resurrected Think Global AS, which told VentureWire it secured a $15 million funding commitment from existing investor InSpire Ventures, is only the latest in a line of venture-backed companies raising new capital to bring electric cars or hybrids to the masses.

Late last year Draper Fisher Jurvetson co-led a $20 million round for the Bangalore-based REVA Electric Car Company Pvt. Ltd. alongside the Global Environment Fund. And in June 2006, a consortium of venture firms and individual investors came together to back a $40 million round for San Carlos, Calif.-based Tesla Motors Inc. co-led by VantagePoint Venture Partners and the founder of PayPal Inc., Elon Musk.

And the big automakers are warming to hybrid electric vehicles. General Motors Co. recently unveiled a hybrid electric concept car, the Chevrolet Volt, at an auto show in Detroit, while Toyota has been marketing its gas-electric hybrid vehicles for several years.

"We are very happy now that GM and others have announced that they believe in the electric car," said InSpire Ventures Chairman, and Think Global Chief Executive, Jan-Olaf Willums.

And in other electric car news, here's more info on the Tesla Roadster...
Other news and notes: Here's a nice profile of The Acumen Fund, a unique non-profit that makes venture-type investments in developing countries, often in cleantech applications... A fuel cell venture exit: BASF Future Business is buying PEMEAS, with terms undisclosed... Here's an interesting interview on the general topic of smart metering and demand response... On the topic of solar investing, here's another interesting 2007 prediction... Phil Angelides is starting an investment group that will be partially directed at green building projects... Finally, is there anyone who isn't launching a solar project financing or development firm these days??


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