The Week in Cleantech: Oct. 28 – Nov. 3
A note to regular readers of this blog – this will be our final “The Week in Cleantech” post. Beginning next week, in an effort to bring you more focused content on specific clean technology sectors, we’ll begin posting highlights of specific deals and why they matter in relation to a broader sector. Now, let’s look at some highlights from last week:
Perhaps influenced by the successful exit of ecoATM in July by investors including Claremont Creek Ventures and Tao Venture Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Silver Lake Kraftwerk last week pumped $105 million in Series C growth capital into eRecyclingCorps, a company similarly pursuing incentivized recycling of personal electronics. Instead of setting up a network of kiosks, however, eRecyclingCorps builds trade-in programs in partnership with the all largest mobile phone carriers. Founded in 2009, the company, which also counts SJF Ventures and NGEN Partners as investors, has said it intends to use the funds to support potential acquisitions, geographic expansion and new products and services.
The Agriculture sector again proved to be on the minds of venture investors last week as Harvest Automation, a Massachusetts-based developer of robotic technology for agricultural applications, raised $11.75 million in a Series C round. New investor Mousse Partners led the round, and was joined by existing investors. Agriculture-related cleantech start-ups have attracted increased attention from venture investors since the beginning of 2012, and have raised a total of $455 million across 59 deals so far in 2013. In all of 2011, the sector saw $338 million across 37 deals.
And in the Energy Efficiency sector, data center efficiency start-up Stratoscale raised a $10 million Series A round. Battery Ventures led the round, and was joined by Bessemer Venture Partners. Scott Tobin, general partner at Battery Ventures, and Adam Fisher, a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, will join Stratoscale’s board.
On the fundraising front, the week saw announcements from two venture firms with relevance to cleantech sectors. Mercury Fund (fka DFJ Mercury), a seed-stage venture capital firm based in Houston, is raising a $125 million third fund, Mercury Ventures Fund III, according to a regulatory filing. Recent Mercury Fund investments include Deep Imaging Technologies, a developer of enhanced electromagnetics (eEMTM) to improve the performance of land-based subsurface imaging for the Oil & Gas industry, and Covaron a maker of advanced materials for thermosetting applications that have better wear and longevity characteristics than incumbent aluminum. The second disclosure, also through a regulatory filing, indicated that former Mayfield Fund Partner Todd Kimmel is raising a $25 million early-stage fund for his new VC firm Montage Ventures. The fund reportedly plans to invest in resource (energy, food, and water) sectors, among others.