Category Archives: Funding

Greener Capital Secures $30M For Second Fund

Greener Capital, the Berkeley, Calif. venture capital firm, reached  a first close on its second fund, securing commitments of $33 million from new and returning investors.

Much like its inaugural fund, Greener Capital’s Greener Capital Partners II, will back innovative clean technology companies. Some of the firm’s current portfolio companies include energy storage developers Xtreme Power and Powergetics, as well as  biofuel developer Codexis.

Since its 2009 launch Greener Capital’s first fund has returned approximately 45 percent, net of fees.

In a statement, Greener Capital founder Charles Finnie said: “There are reasons our investments have been successful thus far: We back entrepreneurs who offer unconventional, even radical solutions to major problems in the production and management of energy. We invest in capital-efficient businesses that can be cost competitive with traditional energy providers, without government subsidies.”

Prior to launching Greener Capital, Finnie was a general partner at Crosslink Capital, a firm with over $2 billion under management.

Major Pension Plan Launches In-House Venture Fund

The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) plans to start an in-house venture capital fund that could invest in cleantech opportunities.

The new investment platform, dubbed OMERS Ventures, could invest C$180 million ($171 million) over the next three years, the Toronto-based pension plan said in a statement.

The move by OMERS is interesting for two reasons. First, most pension plans typically outsource their venture investments to independent funds. Also, OMERS is investing in clean energy at a time when other venture funds are shifting away from clean technologies to invest in IT and social media companies.

Besides cleantech, OMERS also plans to invest in technology, biotech, media and telecommunications companies. OMERS executive John Ruffolo will head OMERS VC.

We’ve contacted OMERS for more details on its venture fund’s investment strategy.





Khosla Ventures Reportedly Closes Fourth Fund

Khosla Ventures, one of the leading cleantech investor, has closed a fourth fund, according to media reports. The California firm launched the capital raise last Spring, aiming to secure  $1 billion.

Just two years ago Khosla secured more than $1 billion for a third fund that, like its previous funds, has not shied away from backing cutting-edge companies.

Current portfolio companies include enzyme-based biofuel developer LS9 or TerraPower, a company which has designed a nuclear reactor that could run for decades on spent nuclear fuel.

At a time when some funds are suffering from cleantech-fatigue, Khosla is persevering in investing in the high-risk, high-reward green energy game.

Recently Khosla participated in a $15 million Series B supporting wind technology company Danotek. A few weeks earlier, it invested in a $20 million fourth round of funding supporting Coskata, the Warrenville, Ill. waste-to-biofuel developer.

The firm has also had a few successful exits from biofuel companies Amyris and Gevo, which both had Initial Public Offerings.

Also, last week Khosla announced the hiring of former Lightspeed Venture partner Andrew Chung to oversee cleantech and IT investments.

We’ve emailed Khosla for more details on this fourth fund.




Wave Power Developer OPT Gets $60M Funding for Australian Utility-Scale Power Project

Ocean Power Technologies (NASDAQ:OPTT / LSE:OPT), the Pennington, N.J., -based developer of wave powered technology, has received A$66.46 million ($60.65 million) grant from Australia’s Resources & Energy Ministry to finance construction of a 19 megawatts wave power project on the Indian Ocean. Once live the offshore facility, which will use the company’s PowerBuoy technology, is  expected to be one of the world’s first utility-scale wave power project.

OPT’s Australian unit will split the funding with project partner Leighton Contractors. The two companies have formed a special purpose company to oversee project construction, which is expected to start in the second quarter of 2010. The wave power facility will be built over three phases, and is located off the city of Portland in the state of Victoria.

On the funding OPT founder and Chairman, Dr. George Taylor, who was born and raised in Australia, said:

Our Victoria, Australia project is expected to be one of the first utility-scale wave energy projects globally, and the latest example of OPT’s lead in turning wave energy technology into a commercial reality worldwide.

Besides OPT the energy ministry  awarded a total of  A$235 million to three other clean energy projects.

OPT’s energy ministry grant will only finance a portion of the project. The company plans to secure outside financing to complete the project.

Besides Australia, OPT is developing projects in Hawaii, Spain and the Pacific Northwest.

Cleantech Group Report: Investment Will Continue Regardless of Copenhagen Outcome

cop15_logo_imgLegislative wrangling over cap and trade and a grim outlook for the Copenhagen climate talks got you down? Investors need not worry, says theCleantech Group in a new report (only for subscribers, unfortunately).

“The most meaningful climate initiatives of late driving cleantech innovation have been driven at the level of the G20, the U.S.-led Major Economies Forum and the G2 (China and America). The center of gravity is not the bureaucratic UN Framework Convention on Climate Change,” said Cleantech Group executive editor Dallas Kachan.

Translation: the United Nations isn’t funding cleantech and green energy projects, national government stimulus plans are. And private investors, who are anticipating a carbon reduction framework of some sort, will continue to fund projects regardless of the climate change agreement’s final form. Continue reading Cleantech Group Report: Investment Will Continue Regardless of Copenhagen Outcome

Why did Q-Cells End LDK Solar Deal?

Ouch, that hurts! Earlier this week, German PV cell maker Q-Cells (QCE) terminated a supply contract with LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK), the Chinese maker of multicrystalline silicon wafers used to make PV cells.

In a press release, Q-Cells justified the termination by arguing that LDK Solar failed to meet agreed-upon production targets.

Q-Cells has terminated the agreement concluded in December 2007 with the Chinese solar company LDK Solar for the supply of solar wafers, as LDK Solar did not fulfill significant contractual obligations. The original agreement specified the supply of solar wafers on the basis of a contractually fixed amount of silicon totaling 43,000 tonnes for the years from 2009 to 2018, with wafer supplies on the basis of approximately 1,000 tonnes of silicon relating to 2009.

Continue reading Why did Q-Cells End LDK Solar Deal?