Investors’ focus on early and seed-stage investments two weeks ago was surely encouraging for the youngest clean technology start-ups, but it also drove down the weekly tally of dollars invested to its lowest level this quarter ($22 million across 12 deals). Last week, however, saw the return of a few bigger deals which helped that metric climb back to a healthy $111 million (albeit spread across a shorter list of 10 venture deals).
Leading the week was San Francisco-based Climate Corporation, formerly Weatherbill, with the close of a $50 million Series C round led by new investor The Founders Fund. The company operates at the intersection of big data and agriculture, crunching the numbers on weather patterns and farmers’ crops to supply growers with specially-tailored insurance against deleterious climatic events.
Two efficiency-focused alumni of last year’s Cleantech Open competition (a non-profit partner of Cleantech Group) raised Series A rounds during the week, with energy-efficient window company Indow Windows raising $1.3 million and still-stealthy data center efficiency start-up Arctic Sand raising $6.6 million.
The US Department of Energy had a rather active week, making grants totaling $18 million to six companies. Recipients included Clean Power Finance and Solar Mosaic (both innovating in downstream solar PV), Cree andKLA-Tencor (efficiency), k-Space Associates (materials), and PolyPlus (energy storage).
The banking sector in the US proved bullish on clean technologies last week as well. US Bancorp established yet another tax-equity fund to support SolarCity‘s PV installation business, this time with an expressed commitment of $250 million. The two firms have formed a healthy partnership for the financing and deployment of residential and commercial scale solar. Meanwhile, Bank of America announced a 10-year, $50 billion investment program to provide loans and other financing for “environmentally friendly energy projects”.
Subscribers are encouraged to take a look at several interesting announcements in M&A from last week. One Frankenstein of a deal we found particularly exciting however, was the acquisition and planned electrification of bankrupt Swedish automaker Saab by a Chinese-Japanese investment group, curiously named National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS). NEVS has made clear its intention to refocus the car company’s operations on the supply of electric vehicles to the burgeoning Asian market.
Plenty of interesting relationships were formed during the week, including energy storage innovator Saft linking up with Schüco International on localized storage to support solar PV, and BuildingIQ partnering with Nevada utility NV Energy on commercial building energy efficiency.
For much, much more on this and future weeks’ activity, and to dynamically follow investments and company relationships in the cleantech space, consider subscribing to the i3 Platform!
Editor’s note: Last week we reported that UK-based Green-Tide Turbines (links require subscription), a developer of innovative turbines for run-of-river and tidal hydro power generation, had raised its Series A round of venture funding. This was in error. Green-Tide’s founder and Chief Executive, Michael Evans, let us know that the company is in fact still seeking investors for its first round. The company is targeting a £5 million fundraise.