Monday, August 20, 2007

Are electric vehicles the next "frothy" cleantech venture subsector?

Looks like we're going to get to figure out the answer to that question over the next few years, as we see just how many EV startups can succeed...
  • Not sure who posted it first, PE Hub or VWire, but the news came out at the end of last week that Venture Vehicles has raised a $6mm Series A led by NGEN and including DVC Technologies NV. The company's first concept vehicle, with a design licensed from Carver Engineering (a subsidiary of DVC), is a tilting three-wheeler that they say will be able to go zero to 60 in 6 seconds, hit a top speed of 100mph, get mileage of 100mpg, and cost less than $20k.
  • Jonathan Shieber at VWire broke the news Friday that Craton Equity Partners, a first-time fund in southern California, has raised over $120mm of a targeted $250mm fund.
  • Energy efficiency continues to be hot: Efficient lighting equipment manufacturer Orion Energy Systems has filed for an $100mm IPO. [Self-promotion alert: Orion has been backed by Expansion Capital Partners and others]
  • Two more scoops by VWire: 1. "Green drywall" developer Serious Materials has around half of a $40-50mm round of financing soft-circled, according to the CEO, although they are still "trying to lock down the lead". The company is tracking toward revenues well north of $20mm in 2007, and took in a $5.5mm first round of financing in 2006. 2. News came out on Monday that algae-to-biofuels developer Inventure Chemical raised an undisclosed amount of Series A financing -- VWire reported that the size of the round was $2mm and that Cedar Grove Investments, Brighton Jones Wealth Management and angel investors provided the funding.
Other news and notes: More fine work by Lux Research on the applications for nanotech in cleantech... Two great solar columns by Neal lately, here and here... Finally, in the ongoing efforts to build regional cleantech clusters, here's an intriguing proposal.


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