Global Clean Technology Venture Investment Totals $6.46B in 2012 Cleantech Group’s Quarterly Investment Monitor Shows Venture Investment Down 33% by Investment Total; 15% by Deal Count from 2011

SAN FRANCISCO – January 3, 2013 – Cleantech Group™, a global market intelligence firm helping executives connect with cleantech innovation, today released preliminary 2012 results from its i3 platform.  The firm reported that worldwide clean technology venture investment during the year totaled $6.46 billion.

Measured by dollars invested, cleantech venture investment dropped 33 percent from 2011 ($9.61 billion). The number of deals recorded in 2012 was 704, which was 15 percent lower than the 829 tracked in 2011. The tally may rise again once all investors have submitted all deals. Of these deals, 60 percent (422) were Series B or later rounds, accounting for 90 percent ($5.83 billion) of all money invested during the quarter.

“Weak IPO exits, political uncertainty, global macroeconomic stagnation, and fierce competition all played a role in dampening investor enthusiasm for the space in 2012,” said Sheeraz Haji, CEO of Cleantech Group and GreenOrder. “That said, the entire venture capital industry contracted in 2012, so cleantech is not alone in experiencing this pullback.  The cleantech sector will redefine itself in 2013 as investors regroup, continue to favor capital efficient startups and look for new ways to collaborate with large enterprises.”


The leading sector in 2012 by amount invested was Biofuels & Biochemicals ($952 million), followed by Transportation ($927 million) and Energy Efficiency ($907 million). Energy Efficiency was the strongest sector measured by number of deals, with 140 funding rounds. The Solar sector, which saw large investment declines compared with previous years, still managed to come in second by this measure, with 79 deals.

The largest transactions in the top three sectors were:

BIOFUELS & BIOCHEMICALS – $952 million in 53 deals

  • Sapphire Energy, a California-based developer of algae biofuels, raised $144 million from Monsanto, ARCH Venture Partners, Venrock Associates, and others.
  • Beta Renewables, an Italian based joint venture between Chemtex and TPG developing facilities to make non-food cellulosic feedstocks practical for biofuels production, raised $116 million from Novozymes. The two companies are forming their own joint venture.
  • Elevance Renewable Sciences, an Illinois-based producer of high-performance waxes, functional oils, anti-microbials, lubricants, additives and other chemicals using olefin metathesis technology, raised $104 million from Genting Berhad, Total Energy Ventures and others in a Series E offering after the company pulled its IPO plan.

TRANSPORTATION – $927 million in 71 deals

  • Fisker Automotive, a California-based manufacturer of luxury electric cars, held two expansions of an existing round and opened a new round of equity, for a total of $381 million in new VC during the year. Investors include New Enterprise Associates, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and others.
  • Protean Electric, a Michigan-based provider of in-wheel propulsion systems for electric vehicles, raised $84 million from GSR Ventures, Oak Investment Partners and others.
  • ChargePoint, a California-based provider of electric vehicle charging solutions, raised $47.5 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Braemar Energy Ventures, and others.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY – $907 million in 140 deals

  • IO Data Centers, an Arizona-based provider of next-generation modular data center technology and services designs, raised $90 million in a round led by New World Ventures.
  • Blu Homes, a Massachusetts-based designer of green homes including resource efficient fabrication and energy efficient systems, raised $60 million of equity financing from Brightpath Capital Partners and Skagen Group.
  • View, a California-based developer of energy-efficient glass technologies for buildings, raised $55 million in an equity financing round from Khosla Ventures, DBL Investors, Sigma Partners, and others.


North America accounted for 78 percent of the total venture investment, whereas Europe & Israel accounted for 17 percent, and Asia Pacific for 5 percent.

NORTH AMERICA: North American companies raised $5.07 billion, down 30 percent from 2011. In North America, California again led all states/provinces with $2.3 billion in investment (46 percent share), followed by Massachusetts ($930 million, 18 percent) and Texas (221 million, 4 percent). The largest deals included MA-based GreatPoint Energy ($420 million), California-based Fisker Automotive (multiple rounds for total of $381 million) and California-based Sapphire Energy ($144 million).

EUROPE AND ISRAEL: European and Israeli companies raised $1.1 billion, down 23.6 percent from 2011. There were 169 deals, declining from 202 in 2011. The largest deals were for Italy-based Beta Renewables ($116 million), UK-based Tamar Energy ($102 million) and Germany-based FriedolaTECH ($40 million).

ASIA PACIFIC: Asian companies raised $300 million in 44 disclosed rounds in 2012, down 67 percent from 2011 ($910 million). Notable deals were for China-based Golden State Environment ($55 million), China-based SunSun Lighting ($30 million), and India-based Doshion ($25 million).


M&A transactions involving clean technology totaled 213 transactions in 2012, of which totals were disclosed for 66 transactions totaling $39.7 billion. In 20 of the 213 transactions, the targets were VCPE-backed companies. Notable transactions for VCPE-backed cleantech companies were California-based Waste Connections acquiring Texas-based R360 Environmental Solutions for $1.3 billion, and Cabot’s $1.1 billion acquisition of Norit Holdings, a Netherlands-based producer of activated carbon and related services for water treatment and purification.

There were 37 clean technology IPOs raising a total of $4.1 billion during 2012, 16 of which were for venture-backed companies. The largest venture-backed IPOs were for Shenzhen Dongjiang Environmental, a provider of waste management and environmental services, which raised RMB 1.075 billion in an IPO on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, and HC SemiTek, a developer of energy-efficient LED chips and materials, which raised RMB 1 billion on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Ten venture-backed cleantech companies withdrew their IPO plans during the year. Seven of them— including BrightSource Energy, Elevance Renewable Sciences, Genomatica and Glori Energy—either raised or openly expressed the desire to raise private funding instead of going public.


2012 Most Active Cleantech Venture Investors

Venture Capital Firm# of rounds
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers25
Draper Fisher Jurvetson (Including DFJ’s Global Network)22
Khosla Ventures18
Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital15
New Enterprise Associates12
Braemar Energy Ventures11
Emerald Technology Ventures11

Source: Cleantech Group’s i3 Platform (

About Cleantech Group Inc.

Cleantech Group’s market intelligence, events, and advisory services accelerate market adoption, stimulate demand, and remove barriers to cleantech innovation. A global company with offices in North America and Europe, we connect business leaders with cleantech innovation through the i3 platform, the most comprehensive up-to-date source for insights into companies, investors, financing and relationships across the clean technology ecosystem. In October 2012, Cleantech Group merged with GreenOrder, a leading sustainability strategy and management consulting firm. Details at