Fragmentation in IoT – One Roadblock in IoT Deployment

Leo Zhang
The Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled the connection of millions of devices, resulting in a vast amount of data being extracted from these devices, which then enables innovation in applications areas like industrial automation, predictive maintenance, and artificial intelligence. The IoT theme is certainly an area that we have been paying close attention to, where we have seen an exponential increase in venture investments at the intersection of cleantech and IoT from traditional venture capital investors and large multinational... Read More »

Blockchain and Supply Chain Financing: A Conversation with Skuchain

Jules Besnainou
On November 9th in Boston, we will be hosting our  executive summit on Blockchain in Energy & Industry - a good excuse to catch up with some of the most interesting projects happening in the space. Founded in 2014, Skuchain is applying blockchain technology to the digitization and financing of the supply chain. To learn more, we spoke to Rebecca Liao, who heads Skuchain’s Business Development and Strategy, and to Ranga Krishnan, the company’s VP of Technology, who will join us... Read More »

$200M of Plenty(ful) Capital – The Next Wave of Vertical Farming

Yoachim Haynes
The $200M raise by Plenty – a pre-revenue company who just one month prior, acquired somebody else’s technology (Bright Agrotech) – is not something you hear about every day. Jeff Bezos, Softbank and Alphabet may have deep pockets, but they are not philanthropic organizations. And for Bezos, this is a follow-on to a 2016 round for Plenty that provided $26M. So, the question is – what are the growth plans for this vertical farming business following the July 2017 investment?... Read More »

Taking Oil Out of the Big Rig: Electrification of Haulage Trucks

Chris Sworder
As we trundle towards the unveiling of Tesla’s semi-truck, provisionally set for October 26th, we thought this would be a good time to scope out what is happening in the world of electric trucks. Transportation and logistics, especially due to the high levels of venture capital investment in recent years, has become a cornerstone of CTG research. From autonomous vehicles, solving traffic, lithium commodity markets, bike sharing, and even flying cars, evaluating trends in mobility has been a major focus. The... 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 »

Transactive Energy: The next step for the digital grid?

Ken-Ichi Hino
Definitions of transactive energy (TE) can be deceptively bland. The GridWise Architecture Council defines it as “the use of a combination of economic and control techniques to improve grid reliability and efficiency.” The Transactive Energy Association is more specific: “Transactive Energy engages customers and suppliers as participants in decentralized markets for energy transactions.” Seems like a good idea and something that should happen, but not all that revolutionary at first glance. That said, first glances can be deceiving because TE... Read More »

Cleantech Meets Space: A month’s worth of deals changing how we see the planet

Josh Gilbert
Here at CTG, it is our goal to keep our network of investors and corporates up to date with the latest trends, and share our perspective on the industries we cover that are simply doing “more with less.” As an example of one such industry, we are looking at spacetech, satellite networking, and geographic information systems (GIS) as specific areas where venture capital has become increasingly utilized, with significant cleantech relevance. Through the billionaire-backed efforts of SpaceX, Blue Origin and... Read More »

Blockchain and IoT: A Conversation with Dominik Schiener of the IOTA Foundation

Jules Besnainou
In its landmark Device Democracy report a couple of years ago, IBM highlighted a series of challenges that connected things would face when scaling from the tens of billions to the hundreds of billions in the coming years. Among these challenges, cost of connectivity, the erosion of trust in the internet, and broken business models for connected devices stood out as hurdles already affecting IoT innovation. [caption id="attachment_15140" align="alignright" width="200"] Dominik Schiener, Co-Founder, IOTA[/caption] The report pointed out that using... Read More »

Transportation, Food, Water, Energy – Recap of IN2 Summit

Leo Zhang
  [caption id="attachment_15127" align="alignright" width="292"] Source: NREL[/caption] As a Channel Partner to Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) program, Cleantech Group participated in last week’s IN2 Summit at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. With a $30 million funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation, the IN2 program is co-administered by NREL and designed to facilitate the scale-up of early-stage cleantech start-ups towards the goal of reducing energy impact. The main goal for the Summit was to take a... Read More »

You Are What You Eat: Supply Chain Transparency in the Food System

Todd Allmendinger
In the US television show, Portlandia, there is an episode in which several diners at a restaurant start asking about the dishes, the condition the chickens were raised in, the names of the chickens, and ultimately leave the restaurant to visit the farm where the chickens were raised. While this comedic license may go a bit far, the availability of sensors, blockchain, and data analytics, combined with food service and customer requirements, can improve safety and accountability throughout the food... Read More »