Global Clean Technology Venture Investment Cools in 2Q 2012

Transportation, Energy Efficiency, Biofuels, and Water show continued strong support

SAN FRANCISCO – July 10, 2012Cleantech Group™, a global market intelligence firm helping executives connect with cleantech innovation, today released preliminary 2Q 2012 results from its i3 research platform. The firm reported that worldwide clean technology venture investment in the quarter totaled $1.61 billion.

Measured by dollars invested, cleantech venture investment fell 14 percent compared to the previous quarter ($1.88 billion) and was off 25 percent from 2Q11 ($2.15 billion). The number of deals recorded in 2Q12 was 155, compared to 197 in 1Q12. The tally may rise again once all investors have reported all deals. Of these deals, 59 percent (92) were Series B or later rounds, accounting for 90 percent ($1.59 billion) of all money invested during the quarter.

“Despite headwinds facing the sector and global economic instability, we continue to observe top tier funds such as Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, NEA, and others actively investing into cleantech,” said Cleantech Group CEO Sheeraz Haji. “While some may be ducking ‘cleantech’ as a label in North America, growth in technologies addressing resource and energy challenges remains strong and both corporate and investor interest remains high.”
The leading sector in the quarter by amount invested was solar ($253 million), followed by transportation ($252 million) and energy efficiency ($243 million). Energy efficiency and solar were the most popular sector measured by number of deals, with 35 and 22 funding rounds respectively. Water, 17 deals totaling $135 million, and biofuels, 14 deals totaling $229 million, also had strong showings for the quarter.

The largest transactions in the top three sectors were:

SOLAR – $253 million in 22 deals

  • SunRun, a California-based developer of solar systems that engage customers through PPAs to eliminate the cost barrier to residential solar adoption, raised $60 million from Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners and others.
  • NanoSolar, a California-based developer of CIGS thin-film photovoltaic solar cells and flexible modules using nano-ink printing technology, raised $50 million from Mohr Davidow, Arsenal Venture Partners and others, bringing the total of its latest round to $70 million.
  • SolarBridge Technologies, a Texas-based developer of module-integrated microinverter solutions for solar photovoltaics, raised $25 million in a Series D financing round led by Shea Ventures.

TRANSPORTATION – $252 million in 10 deals

  • Fisker Automotive, a California-based manufacturer of luxury electric cars, raised $129 million from New Enterprise Associates, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and others as part of its $500 million Series D round.
  • Coulomb Technologies, a provider of electric vehicle charging stations and infrastructure, raised $47.5 million from Braemar Energy Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and others in a Series D financing round.
  • SmartDrive Systems, a California-based provider of solutions for fleet managers to improve driver safety and improve vehicle efficiency, raised $47 million from New Enterprise Associates, Oak Investment Partners and others.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY – $242 million in 35 deals

  • Soladigm, a California-based developer of energy-efficient glass technologies for buildings, raised $55 million from Khosla Ventures, DBL Investors and others in a Series D round of financing.
  • SunSun Lighting, a China-based manufacturer of LED lighting products, raised $30 million from GSR Ventures and Oak Investment Partners in a Series B round of financing.
  • TerraLUX, a Colorado-based developer and manufacturer of LED based lighting subsystems, raised $18.3 million from Emerald Technology Ventures, Generation Investment Management and others in a Series B round of financing.



North America accounted for 81 percent of the total, while Europe and Israel accounted for 15 percent and Asia Pacific for 4 percent.

NORTH AMERICA: North American companies raised $1.31 billion, down 8 percent from 1Q12 and 13 percent from 2Q11.

In North America, California led the way with $831 million in investments (65 percent share), followed by Massachusetts ($157 million, 12 percent) and Texas (57 million, 4 percent). The largest deals included CA-based Sapphire Energy ($144 million), CA-based Fisker Automotive ($129 million) and MA-based Harvest Power ($112 million).

EUROPE & ISRAEL: European and Israeli companies raised $237 million, down 35 percent from 1Q12 and 46 percent from 2Q11. There were 40 deals, declining from 53 in 1Q12. The largest deals were for Finland-based Beneq ($32.8 million), UK-based Isentropic ($22 million) and Norway-based Kebony ($19 million).

ASIA PACIFIC: Asian companies raised $63 million in 10 disclosed rounds in 2Q12. Notable deals were for China-based SunSun Lighting ($30 million), China-based Aegis Petro ($9.4 million) and India-based RenewGEN ($9 million).


M&A transactions involving clean technology totaled 51 transactions in 2Q12, of which totals were disclosed for 12 transactions totaling $13.5 billion. In 13 of the 51 transactions, the targets were VCPE-backed companies. Notable transactions for VCPE-backed cleantech companies were Cabot’s $1.1-billion acquisition of Norit Holding (backed by Doughty Hanson and Gilde Investment Management), a producer of activated carbon and related services for water treatment and purification applications, and Silicon Lab’s $72-million acquisition of Ember (backed by Chevron Technology Ventures, DFJ New England and others), a developer of wireless mesh-networking chipsets for communications between devices such as utility meters and thermostats. Other notable M&A transactions in the cleantech space included Eaton Corporation’s $11.8-billion acquisition of Cooper Industries, a manufacturer of electrical products for electricity distribution and control, and Monsanto’s $210-million acquisition of Precision Planting, a Provider of precision agriculture products and solutions.

There were 9 clean technology IPOs raising a total of $1.79 billion during the quarter, all of which took place in China. The largest IPOs were for Solareast, a developer and manufacturer of solar thermal water heaters, which raised RMB 2.15 billion in an IPO on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, and Huadian Fuxin Energy, the clean energy subsidiary of state-owned Huadian Corporation, which raised HK$ 2.5 billion on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In North America, three venture-backed cleantech companies withdrew their IPO plans due to unfavorable market conditions: BrightSource Energy, Enerkem and Luca Technologies.



2Q12 Most Active Cleantech Venture Investors

Venture Capital Firm # of rounds  Companies
Draper Fisher Jurvetson(and DFJ Global Network) 7 EdeniQIllumitexPentalum TechnologiesRolithd.light designWaterSmart SoftwareArrayPower
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers 6 Fisker AutomotiveHarvest PowerCoulomb TechnologiesEdeniQSolexelGen110
Khosla Ventures 5 NanoH2OSoladigmThe Climate CorporationSolum (USA)Liquid Metal Battery
New Enterprise Associates 5 Fisker AutomotiveThe Climate CorporationSmartDrive SystemsSolFocusIllumitex
VantagePoint Capital Partners 4 Ostara Nutrient Recovery TechnologiesTendrilAdura TechnologiesCobalt Technologies

Source: Cleantech Group’s i3 Platform

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