Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Catching up

Deals and news from the past week or so:
  • Silicon production startup Solaicx announced a $27.1mm Series C. DE Shaw led, Mitsui Ventures also joined in, and existing investors Applied Ventures, Firsthand Capital Management, Big Sky Ventures, and Greenhouse Capital Partners participated as well. Jonathan Shieber at VentureWire reports that the company current has less than $5mm in revenues.
  • New Energy Finance reported last week that PV thin-film and project developer Optisolar had taken in $10.2mm in "venture capital funding" from Gardiner Group Capital, Richardson Ventures, and four other private investors. Gardiner Group and Richardson Ventures each holds >10% of the company after the funding. The company was also in the news regarding a 40MW project development deal in Ontario.
  • Two green chemistry deals to note: Marrone Organic Innovations closed a $3.75mm Series A round, led by Clean Pacific Ventures, in one of the cleantech-focused firm's first announced deals. One Earth Capital, Saffron Hill Ventures, Calvert Social Investment Fund, Wavepoint Ventures, and strategic and angel investors all also participated. Marrone develops organic alternatives to pesticides and weed management.
  • The second deal in the category was Segetis, which is developing bio-based plastics, adhesives and solvents. Khosla Ventures is providing $15mm in funding in three tranches, with the first $5mm in Q1 this year. Fun quote: "Vinod is like a rock star in the venture capital world" (from a gushing Minneapolis growth forum leader).
  • Other deals: Ethanol technology developer TMO Renewables has been taking in "pre-IPO" placements, such as the one described here... Swedish distribution transformer designer Hexaform announced they raised 30mm SEK (approximately $4.4mm) from InnovationsKapital... PEWW reported that telecom-focused backup power system manufacturer Purcell Systems has raised $7.23mm of a $10mm Series B-2, building on a $9.27mm Series B from 2005. Weston Presidio participated... VentureWire reported that hybrid drivetrain developer Hybra-Drive has raised $350k in seed and "pre-seed" financing, and is looking to raise a $10mm Series A... Finally, high-temp superconductor developer Zenergy raised a GBP 6mm PIPE (note: link opens a pdf).
Other news and notes: A good interview with Emerald's Scott MacDonald... A nice column on the challenges of being a female entrepreneur in the (very unfortunately, hopefully temporarily) male-dominated cleantech space... As we've been talking about for a while, the solar consolidation phase is getting underway... India needs more cleantech venture capital... The Lux Report really did talk about a lot more than the "bubble" media coverage would suggest to a casual reader -- here's a useful presentation of some of the data in the report (including a tally of $8.6B in cleantech IPOs and M&A last year)... NEF has some interesting news (note: site doesn't work in all browsers) on an uptick in cleantech IPO activity -- and here's one take on why one IPO didn't go so well... Some useful advice for cleantech entrepreneurs... An update on carbon market developments... Yet another take on the attractiveness of water tech... Finally, it's a better kind of "oil can": If you drink enough Foster's this summer when you throw some shrimp on the barbie, you just might power a house in Australia.


Blogger Jigar Shah said...

Optisolar and others have 3 years to build these solar facilities from the day that they obtain approval from the OPA. This means that most of these systems probably won't be fully operational until 2010.

The job creation coming from solar power is higher than any other renewable energy technology. This prompted many anti-solar officials in Germany to change their mind about the solar program there when they came into power. It is about time that Canada benefited from the cleantech boom.

The main reason folks support large scale solar support programs is that they are frustrated that the other technologies cannot be ubiquitous. Wind Energy is wonderful but at a certain penetration it is alot of trouble because it often produces power when residents don't use it. Also it is almost always central generation, limited by transmission capacity. Biomass is fraught with long term risk. Over a 40 year time period the sources and uses of fuel changes. There are only a limited number of projects that make sense from a risk perspective. In Texas they estimate only 500 MWs can come from Biomass, ever!

Solar may be expensive today, but for Ontario to be prepared for the lower cost solar coming in 2010, this subsidy pays for the training of local workers and education of local permitting and utility officials.

Starting in about 2010, the solar program will result in a maximum cost increase of about 1% for Ontario residents. Probably much less. . .

9:19 PM  

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