Venture capitalists might be running short of cash. This past quarter (Q1 2012), global venture capital investments declined 19% from the prior quarter and 31% year-over-year. On a brighter note, the total number of deals recorded in the quarter was 185, up from 176 in Q4 2011, and the tally will rise again once we round up other investors who have not yet reported all their deals for the quarter.
Our newly released VC fundraising data show challenges in venture firms’ ability to raise capital from LPs. In Q1 2012, “pure play” cleantech investment firms raised $2.3 billion globally. This represents a steep drop from the recent peak of $6.7 billion raised by cleantech funds in Q2 2010. Raising a cleantech fund today is not easy – our numbers indicate it is taking GP’s more time to raise less capital than a few years ago.
However, corporates continue to invest in cleantech. In fact, our data show significant growth this past quarter in both corporate acquisitions as well as minority investments. We tracked 77 cleantech M&A transactions this past quarter with an aggregate deal value of $15 billion, a big jump from the $2.5 billion total from Q4 2011. Corporate venture capital investments also jumped from 19 deals in Q4 2011 to 33 deals this past quarter (Q1 2012).
Finally, is the IPO window (finally) opening up for cleantech startups? While not an easy deal, Enphase was able to complete its IPO. In April, we will be watching Luca Technologies, Enerkem, and Brightsource – three companies expected to price their IPOs in the coming weeks. We will also see if the recent activity inspires strong companies like SolarCity to file their own S-1’s.