Investor Shift Toward Capital Efficiency is Clear in 1Q13

Cleantech Group’s Quarterly Investment Monitor Shows Near Record Deal Count (217), Yet Total Dollars Retreat to $1.07B

SAN FRANCISCO–April 4, 2013 – Cleantech Group™, a global market intelligence firm helping executives connect with cleantech innovation, today released preliminary 1Q13 results from its i3 research platform. The firm reported that worldwide clean technology venture investment during the quarter totaled $1.07 billion.

Measured by dollars invested, cleantech venture investment dropped 29 percent from 4Q12 ($1.5 billion). The number of deals recorded in 1Q13 was 217, representing two consecutive quarters of higher deal counts, yet lower dollar totals. The tally may rise again once all investors have submitted all deals. Of these deals, 54 percent (117) were Series B or later rounds, accounting for 90 percent ($0.9 billion) of all money invested during the quarter.

“We are seeing the market moving beyond irrational exuberance and becoming more cautious and thoughtful in deploying capital,” said Greg Neichin, Executive Vice President of Cleantech Group. “For those with a long view on the energy and resource business, this is not a bad story. The increase in deal count—especially early stage deals—coupled with steady, continuing interest from corporate strategics leaves us entirely confident that there is a strong industry foundation in place.”


The leading sector in 1Q13 by amount invested was Energy Efficiency ($156 million), followed by Transportation ($144 million) and Solar ($112 million). Energy Efficiency also led by number of deals, with 31 funding rounds. Transportation (24 deals) came in second by this metric, followed by Solar (19 deals).

The largest transactions in the top three sectors were:

ENERGY EFFICIENCY – $156 million in 31 deals

  • Nest, a California-based maker of a networked “learning” thermostat for home use, raised $80 million from Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Lightspeed Ventures, and others.
  • Alphabet Energy, a California-based developer of low-cost thermoelectric technology for waste heat recovery, raised $16 million from Encana, TPG Biotech, Claremont Creek Ventures, and others.
  • Digital Lumens, a Massachusetts-based developer of intelligent LED-based lighting systems for industrial facilities that reduce lighting energy use and provide fully integrated controls and reporting capabilities, raised $10 million from Black Coral Capital, Flybridge Partners, and Stata Venture Partners.

TRANSPORTATION – $144 million in 24 deals

  • Liquid Robotics, a California-based developer of an autonomous unmanned marine vehicle propelled by waves and solar power for scientific, research, and defense applications, raised $45 million from VantagePoint Capital Partners, Riverwood Capital, and Interwest Partners.
  • Hailo, a London-based provider of an app easing the use of taxis and public transport, raised $31 million from Union Square Ventures, Accel Partners, and others.
  • Streetline, a California-based provider of smart parking solutions through wireless sensors located in parking spots and managed through a wireless mesh network, raised $25 million from Fontinalis Partners, RockPort Capital Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, and others.

SOLAR – $112 million in 19 deals

  • OneRoof Energy, a California-based developer, owner and operator of solar energy generation systems for the residential market, raised $30 million from Hanwha Corporation.
  • Sungevity, a California-based, financing-focused solar systems developer targeting the residential rooftop market, raised $28 million from Brightpath Capital Partners, Firelake Capital Management, Greener Capital Partners, and others.
  • eSolar, a California-based developer of solar power tower plants for utility-scale solar thermal power generation, raised $12.8 million from Oak Investment Partners and General Electric.


North America accounted for 62 percent of the total venture investment, whereas Europe & Israel accounted for 28 percent, and Asia Pacific for 10 percent.

NORTH AMERICA: North American companies raised $657 million, down 39 percent from 4Q12, while the deal count remained steady at 146, compared with 148 in 4Q12. In North America, California again led all states/provinces with $331 million in investments (51 percent share), followed by Oregon ($37.3 million, 6 percent) and Massachusetts (31.5 million, 5 percent).

EUROPE AND ISRAEL: European and Israeli companies raised $301 million, down 27 percent from 4Q12, while deal count rose slightly to 60 deals. It is the region’s second consecutive quarter claiming a healthy 28 percent of all capital raised.

ASIA PACIFIC: Asian companies raised $108 million in 11 deals in 1Q13, a dramatic rebound from a fourth quarter that saw seven deals with only $6 million disclosed. At 10 percent, the region’s share of global cleantech venture capital was at its highest since 4Q11.


M&A transactions involving clean technology totaled 60 transactions in 1Q13, of which totals were disclosed for 22 transactions totaling $2.3 billion. In 14 of the 60 transactions, the targets were VCPE-backed companies. Notable transactions were American rental car company Avis Budget Group acquiring Zipcar for $500 million, and Monsanto’s two biotech acquisitions of Israel-based Rosetta Green for $35 million and U.S.-based Agradis for an undisclosed amount.

In 1Q13, there were three clean technology IPOs—two of which involved venture-backed companies—raising a total of $509 million. Silver Spring Networks, a smart grid networking company backed by Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, NCD Investors, and others, raised $81 million in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. Danish company Asetek, a maker of liquid cooling technology for efficient datacenters, raised NOK192 million ($32.9 million) listing its shares on the Oslo Stock Exchange. The company’s venture investors include KT Venture Group, Northzone Ventures, Sunstone Capital, Vaekstfonden, and D.E. Shaw Group.

In the third, non-venture backed IPO, Greencoat UK Wind raised £260 million ($395 million) on the London Stock Exchange. The first-of-its-kind, publicly traded infrastructure fund seeks to provide investment exposure to UK wind power generation assets and liquidity to project developers. The fund issued shares at 100 pence per share and, by design, plans to provide a steady six percent return to investors through a six-pence dividend.

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

Emma Zolbrod
Cleantech Group