Sunday, July 08, 2007

What's going on at GreenFuel, and other news

News came out last week that GreenFuel Technologies is having to lay off half of their staff and have a changeover of management. According to Jonathan Shieber in VentureWire, the algae-to-biofuels startup has had issues in figuring out a couple of key aspects of the technology, such as harvesting the algae. Venture investors, one of whom (Robert Metcalfe) is taking over as interim CEO, sound optimistic about the long-term prospects, but in the meantime the company has pulled back their fundraising efforts and will likely take in some bridge financing from insiders.

Cleantech venture deals in the news:
  • ChapDrive AS, a Norwegian developer of wind turbine technology, has taken in a $3.1mm round of financing. NorthZone Ventures, Hafslund Ventures, and Statoil New Energy are providing the financing. The company is field testing a prototype.
  • Techtium, an Israel-based battery system developer for use in consumer products, has raised a $10mm Series B from Pitango Venture Capital and Poalim Ventures. The company's products allow a disposable battery to charge a rechargeable battery for these kinds of applications, so it's no surprise that Energizer had previously put $5mm into the company. In total, the company has raised $25mm to date.
Cleantech investors around the world: Israeli cleantech venture firms Aqua-Agro Fund (the cleantech venture arm of B. Gaon Holdings) and Wanaka Capital announced progress toward their fundraisings and fund launches... Here's an interesting article on VCs starting to address the "bottom of the pyramid" -- note the financing of Cosmos Ignite Innovations by Vinod Khosla and perhaps 3i and Omidyar, and the mention that Walden International and NEA are looking at investing in $100-PC developer Novatium... And here in the U.S., IBM Venture Capital is getting more into cleantech (or at least energy efficiency).

Other news and notes: Putting cleantech venture capital in perspective... Another green car company launches -- Gordon Murray Design (word of their venture backers came out back in April)... Neal's not the only one confused by everything going on in Washington... Sure seems like some kind of cap and trade is no longer an "if" question but instead "when and how"... Meanwhile, here's more big news on the policy front for the solar industry... Here's another sign that energy efficiency is the next big thing in cleantech... The next round of funding announcements by Sustainable Development Technology Canada... Cleantech-focused recruiters Hobbs & Towne have opened up a west coast office... Finally, in this nice summary of a recent panel discussion, it's worth noting the statistic that 40 hedge funds are already trading in emissions.


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