The rise of online green media
For many investors, online media models are something with which they have some familiarity, so online green media and green purchasing tools have been getting some VC attention lately (as VentureWire covered last month). While some such investments haven't been publicized yet, VentureWire reported this past week that Joel Makower's Greener World Media has raised over $250k in seed financing from seven angels, including Andrew Shapiro of GreenOrder, Lisa Gansky of Ofoto, and others. There's a good profile of Joel's efforts here, from a while back.
Anecdotally, there's no shortage of entrepreneurs also looking at getting into the game right now, as this one example helps illustrate. Usually the efforts appear to be green applications of previously successful startup models ("the green craigslist," e.g.). Such evident low barriers to entry can be a challenge for investors looking into the space, but network externalities (ie: the more people who come to a website, the more valuable it becomes, and so it attracts even more visitors) can create compelling businesses if things work out... Especially as online ad revenues are on the rise, especially for sites that provide good targeted demographics...
Other deals to note from the past week:
- Holographic concentrator PV developer Prism Solar raised another $1.15mm of its ongoing Series A round of financing, bringing the total size of the round (the first tranche of which funded in 2005) above $2mm. CounterPoint Ventures again participated, as did Phoenix-Fire II LLC, Magnesium.com, and individual investors.
- Sindicatum Carbon Capital, which is developing greenhouse gas abatement projects, signed a private placement with Citigroup Venture Capital International and Black River Asset Management. Another example of private equity backing for project finance in cleantech, in this case the investors are tapping into the emerging markets for carbon credits.
- P21, a German developer of fuel cell-based backup power systems, raised a Series C of undisclosed amount. Goldman Sachs led the round, alongside existing investors Target Partners and Conduit Ventures. The company's products are targeted at backup power for telecoms.
- Clean Energy Systems, which is developing an advanced power turbine technology, raised a $13mm Series A. Paxton Corporation and Quadrise Canada Corporation provided the financing.
- VentureWire reported this week that smart metering system developer SmartSynch raised a $10mm Series D insider round. Existing investors all participated; they include Battelle Ventures, J.P. Morgan Partners, Siemens Venture Capital, Kinetic Ventures, Nth Power, Endeavor Capital Management, OPG Ventures, Lime Rock Partners, Cinergy Ventures and GulfSouth Capital.
- Following up on an earlier story, the Cleantech Venture Network released updated figures for their tally of 2006 cleantech venture investments, following on their initial figures released last month. The story remains largely the same: US and European totals of $3.6B, with 72% of that in energy technologies. Again, it will be interesting to see the number of deals that this represents, beyond just the dollar totals.
- Cleantech investors in the news: Index Ventures announced that their latest fund, at more than $400mm, will be investing in cleantech... Jonathan Shieber of VentureWire reported this week that MissionPoint Capital has closed a late-stage cleantech venture fund with $335.5mm -- SunEdison is the company's first publicly-acknowledged investment... Dennis Costello has joined Braemar Energy Ventures -- he'll be opening up the firm's new Boston office (it's really the place to be these days)... Vinod says coal is doomed, but solar thermal is hot... Chevron's Don Paul says that cleantech is like alchemy (he means that in a good way).