Room for Innovation in Mature Renewable Energy Industries


Troy Ault
In mid-October we hosted our latest Power Breakfast here in San Francisco with the support, as always, of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Silicon Valley Bank. So, I’ve been meaning to post this for a few weeks, but have been happily busy on various client work and prep for a new baby girl set to arrive later this month! Better late than never! At any rate, our topic in October was SaaS Innovation in Pursuit of Lowest-Cost Renewable Power,... Read More »

Plant Genomics is Latest Frontier of Artificial Intelligence


Troy Ault
In spite of the much-covered legal battle over the intellectual property related to CRISPR Cas9 gene editing technology, companies in the cleantech ecosystem have been pushing forward, continuously innovating with new techniques and resulting tools for industry. Most recently, this last week culminated in Benson Hill Biosystems’ announcement of its new CRISPR 3.0 tool for agricultural applications, including increasing the nutritional density of crops and improving yield against stressors such as drought, among others. That company’s $25 million Series B... Read More »

Is Lithium-Ion unassailable in stationary energy storage markets?


Troy Ault
CTG’s Power Breakfast series is supported by Silicon Valley Bank and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Thank you to our sponsors!   At our latest Power Breakfast this past Wednesday, we convened a great panel and room full of energy storage industry players, from start-ups and investors to utilities and project developers. Our panel consisted of: Mark Perutz from DBL Partners, one of the first venture investors in Tesla Ilan Gur, former founder of lithium-ion battery company Seeo (acquired by... Read More »

What’s ailing water?


Troy Ault
Contributions from: Nikhila Krishnan, Summer Analyst  While other clean technology sectors including energy, transportation, and agriculture experience stable or growing investment, it appears investors are not as bullish on disrupting or improving water markets with new technology as they once were (note that, for purposes of this analysis we’ve included smart irrigation technologies in our water category). Five years ago, water innovation accounted for 9-10% of the annual deal volume in clean technology venture capital, and 5-6% of invested dollars, as tracked... Read More »

ACES, Accommodation, Populist Revolts, and Pass the Sugar


Troy Ault
With the support of Silicon Valley Bank and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, CTG convened our most recent Power Breakfast last week in San Francisco. More than fifty individuals representing major corporations, investors, start-ups, and other transportation industry stakeholders made their way to WSGR’s One Market offices – which overlook the daily traffic nightmare that is the Bay Bridge morning commute – under the following banner: When electric vehicles are producing half the emissions of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles... Read More »

Disruptive Materials: Common innovation opportunities & challenges


Troy Ault
At our Cleantech Forum San Francisco last week, we were able to convene three companies – EXEGER, NanoSpun Technologies, and Polar Sapphire – to present various new advanced material technologies. We were also joined onstage by two domain-specific investors in Pangaea Ventures and M-Ventures (the corporate venture arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany) for a discussion of new technologies, common opportunities and challenges that innovators in the space commonly face. Throughout the panel, we were able to uncover a few... Read More »

Sink or Swim: Challenging times in water start-up fundraising


Troy Ault
If the raw venture investment data is anything to go by, it seems these are trying times for water technology start-ups hoping to raise venture funding. After a modern peak in 2013 of 113 deals and more than $400 million invested, both annual dollars invested and deal volume have declined at a compounded rate of -24% per year, to just $148 million invested across 37 deals in 2016. In addition, 2016 marked the first year since 2010 in which our... Read More »

December’s Power Breakfast: A How-to on Messaging and Fundraising with the Experts


Troy Ault
To date, most of our Power Breakfasts have focused on a specific technology or market sector. This past Tuesday, we took the opportunity to host a hands-on, very interactive power breakfast on important skills for building your company – namely, how to craft a powerful story and use it for fundraising and sales. Any company needs to be able to tell a good story – and give a good pitch. Regardless of the audience, the component parts of the story... Read More »

The Evolution of Smart Grid Venturing


Troy Ault
In venture capital investment, the smart grid category of yesterday was mostly driven by the advent of smart meters, meter data management apps, and the genesis of demand response and storage. Investments were made in companies like Silver Spring Networks, Trilliant and eMeter (acquired by Siemens) in metering and meter data management, EnerNOC (C&I service unit recently acquired by CLEAResult) in demand response, and numerable battery chemistry innovators on the storage side. Smart grid innovation today, however, is all about... Read More »

Corporate Strategics Off to the Races in 2015


Troy Ault
It’s off to the races in 2015 for corporate-strategic backers of innovation that drives sustainability across key resource-heavy industries. In just the first three weeks of the year, we’ve already seen more than ten venture deals exhibiting corporate participation. These include Saint-Gobain’s investment in Qivivo’s Series A for smart buildings; Swire Pacific’s investment in Green Biologics for renewable chemicals and biofuels; and internet giant Alibaba’s participation in Kuaidi Dache’s massive $600 million round for smart phone-driven transportation services. Using the... Read More »