New Fundings: KPCB, Andreessen and First Round Capital put $25M behind San Francisco-based Airware

KPCB, Andreessen and First Round Capital put $25M behind San Francisco-based Airware – 7/23/14 

Commerical drone startup Airware has raised $25 million in Series B financing from Kleiner Perkins Caufiled & Byers, Andreessen Horowitz and First Round Capital to prepare for commercial launch later this year. The company has raised a total of $40 million, including $12.2 million in Series A financing from Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, First Round Capital, and Felicis Ventures in May 2013. It received seed financing from Google Ventures, First Round Capital, Firelake Capital, RRE Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Promus Ventures, and several Y Combinator partners. Airware is a graduate of both Lemnos Labs and Y Combinator incubators.

As part of its beta program last year, Airware worked with researchers from MIT to evaluate the delivery of vaccines and medicines using a network of commercial drones and demonstrated drones for wildlife conservation and anti-poaching at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

Smart buildings startup CrowdComfort raises $344K of a $1.5M round –  7/21/14 

Undisclosed angel investors have committed $343,892 for CrowdComfort out of the company’s planned $1.5 million round, which CEO Eric Graham told Boston Business Journal will close by the end of the year. This brings the startup’s total funding to about $650,000. CrowdComfort, founded in 2013 and a finalist of this year’s MassChallenge and winner of the DOE’s Energy Data Jam Challenge in Boston last April, has developed technology to crowd-source building maintenance and comfort by allowing anyone to report site-specific comfort via a mobile app. In turn, building managers can access aggregated data to improve comfort, optimize building performance and lower operational costs.

Solar thin-film company Solexel moves toward commercial production with $31M – 7/21/14 

Solexel, maker of thin-silicon cells and modules, has raised $31 million in a Series D round from investors, including roofing materials manufacturer GAF and Kleiner Perkins and previous investors Caufield & Byers, Technology Partners, DAG Ventures, Gentry Ventures, Northgate Capital, GSV Capital, Jasper Ridge Partners, and Gentry Venture Partners. The company has raised about $200 million from investors so far, which includes backing from SunPower, although it did not invest in the current round. Solexel plans to commercialize its photovoltaic modules in 2015.

Natural pesticide company TyraTech receives $6M – 7/17/14 

An undisclosed venture capital investor has committed $6 million to TyraTech (LSE: TYR), a developer of natural pesticide technologies. TyraTech said it will use the funds to launch its Vamousse head lice product in Superdrug and Boots stores and potentially expand geographically, specifically into US and UK stores. The company’s products have applications in consumer, commercial, professional pest control, agriculture, human and animal health, vector control and livestock markets


Social mission focused outdoor gear and apparel startup Cotopaxi raises $3M – 7/22/14 

Cotopaxi, a company that gives 20 percent to of revenue to impoverished communities for humanitarian aid from selling outdoor gear and apparel online, has raised $3 million from Forerunner Ventures, New Eneterprise Associates, Lerer Ventures and a group of private investors.


New York gives $3.3 million in seven smart grid research grants – 7/23/14

Cornell and Lockheed Martin are among the seven research teams awarded $3 million from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Electric Power Transmission and Distribution Smart Grid Program. The projects will develop smart grid technologies to enhance grid performance, reduce the risk of power outages and lessen environmental impacts and energy consumption, while reducing the cost of power delivery.  To read more about the seven research teams, click here

U.S. DOE grants $6.3M for two biofuel projects aimed at lowering costs – 7/18/14 

The U.S. Energy Department has granted $6.3 million to two biofuel research projects aimed at producing a product price competitive with petroleum, benchmarked at $3.00 per gallon of gasoline by 2022. The first grant, totaling $3.1 million goes to Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina. The second grant will fund SRI International’s algae biomass research.

U.S. DOE and Department of Agriculture Award $12.6 million for biomass genomics – 7/17/14

Ten projects focused on accelerating genetic breeding programs to improve feedstocks for biofuel production, biopower and bio-based products have received $12.6 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy. The program aims to harness nonfood plant biomass for the production of fuels and chemicals. A breakdown of the grants:

  • University of Illinois-Champaign: $1.34 million
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: $1.43 million
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing: $1 million
  • University of California, Davis: $1.27 million
  • Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research: $864,400
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis: $1 million
  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins: $1.49 million
  • Donald Danforth Plant Science Center: $1.5 million
  • Texas A&M University, College Station: $1.23 million
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: $1.5 million

To read more, click here

U.S. Department of Agriculture Invest $263.3M to improve electric systems in rural areas – 7/16/14

The USDA announced this week that it is investing $263.3 million to help modernize and improve the reliability of rural electric systems located in eight states. The announcement includes nearly $20 million for smart grid improvements.


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