Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Clean Sweep 64

A round-up of recent news in clean technology and cleantech investment.

AlertMe, a Cambridge-based producer of domestic energy monitoring systems, has raised an £8m second round from Good Energies, Index Ventures, SET Venture Partners and VantagePoint Venture Partners. The money goes towards product development and establishing distribution links with retailers and utilities.
AlertMe provides a range of sensors, smart plugs and monitors to track energy use, all based on the Zigbee standard, which it says can cut energy use by a quarter. Energy management systems aimed squarely at consumers seems to be a bit of a niche for the UK - other VC-backed companies include Onzo and GEO.
US 'energy ecosystem' developer Tendril, which concentrates on linking utilities with consumers, meanwhile raised a $30m third round led by VantagePoint. Good Energies also invested, alongside RRE Ventures, Vista Ventures and Appian Ventures.
As has been noted, the two could make for an attractive merger before too long.

VantagePoint is also backing algal biofuel group Solazyme, which announced it had raised $76m funding including a recently closed third VC round at $57m. The round was first reported to have closed at $45m last September, led by Braemar Energy Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
The new funds go towards commercialising Solazyme's technology, which identifies and engineers microbes to produce fuels and chemicals.

Solar tech firm Semprius closed a $6.4m second round, with In-Q-Tel and GVC Investment Fund joining existing investors ARCH Venture Partners, Applied Ventures, Illinois VENTURES and Intersouth Partners.
The North Carolina firm is targeting the concentrating PV market with its micro-transfer printing technology which promises to cut the costs of module production.

International Battery has raised a $10m second round from existing investors led by Digital Power Capital. In a sign of the times, the funding announcement was hidden under the news that the Pennsylvania firm is asking the Department of Energy for stimulus funding.
International Battery produces a range of heavy-duty rechargeable Li-ion and nickel-cobalt-manganese cells for vehicle, military and utility applications.

San Francisco water purification start-up AquaGenesis has raised an undisclosed first round from local VC Clean Pacific Ventures.
The firm holds rights a continuous electrodeionisation technology, developed at Siemens, which uses ion exchange membrane, resins and electrical potential to purify water. The basic tech is already used in pharmaceutical, semiconductor and power applications, but AquaGenesis is adapting it for the domestic and food service markets.

New rounds for a couple of high intensity discharge lighting companies - the Khosla-backed Topanga Technologies raised $3.45m; while Israel's Metrolight took around $3m from existing investors including Virgin Green Funds, Gemini Israel Funds and Israel Cleantech Ventures.

Further reading
The Guardian reports on a parliamentary motion supporting the mass rollout of solar PV in the UK, based on current proposals for introducing a feed-in tariff for small installations. It's had more support than any other such motion in the current parliament, which is nice. But is PV really the best tech for the UK (or, if you'd rather, is the UK really the best place to put PV modules to work)?

In the wake of Mayor BoJo's electric car proposals, London's inward investment agency has been pitching in San Francisco for electric car expertise and investment. Earth2Tech reports.

News from the cleantech innovation marketplace at this week's World Innovation Summit in Barcelona.

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