New Funds & Fundraising Activity
Impact Venture Fund Lok Capital Raising 3rd Fund – 10/30/14
Lok Capital focuses on making equity investments in social impact enterprises in India and plans to focus on clean energy and agriculture in its new fund. The manager is specifically focusing on off-grid generation, such as micro-grids and solar charging stations, and organic procurement and processing companies in the agriculture sector. It has raised $87 million in two prior funds, mainly from development finance institutions, and is backed by India’s IDFC (Infrastructure Development Finance Company).
Cycle Capital Ventures into China Through Partnerships – 10/28/14
Cycle Capital Management, a $230 million Canadian cleantech venture capital firm, signed an agreement with a Chinese municipal government investment group, Qingdao City Construction Investment Group, to collaborate on cleantech venture investments in its Cycle Capital Fund III, which launched in July 2013 with $100 million in assets. In return, Cycle Capital will support its Chinese partner in setting up a venture capital fund in Qingdao, China. Qingdao City Construction Investment Group has total assets of nearly $16 billion.
Through its partnership, Cycle Capital has also established a collaborative agreement to promote two of its portfolio companies, Enerkem (waste-to-fuels and chemicals) and Eocycle (wind turbines), in Qingdao, a major Chinese city in eastern Shandong Province.
Wells Fargo Launches $10M Cleantech Innovation Incubator – 10/28/14
The new Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) launched with a $10 million environmental grant for cleantech startups funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the U.S. DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to foster the development of early-stage clean technologies for sustainable commercial buildings.
The first of three rounds of selected companies will be announced in early 2015, and the startups will receive up to $250,000 for business development needs, research, and testing support at NREL’s facility in Colorado. The cleantech startups will be identified and recommended by Wells Fargo’s network of technical, financial, and industry advisors at laboratories, accelerators, and research facilities across the country. Once the startups meet milestones in the lab, they will have the opportunity to beta test their technologies within the Wells Fargo footprint.
$100M Closed Loop Fund Launches to Help Cities Increase Recycling Infrastructure – 10/15/14
Closed Loop Fund, a consortium of large corporations with plans to invest $100 million over the next five years to support the development of recycling infrastructure and services, opened up its application process for municipalities and private entities across the country. (A report by As You Sow stated that $11 billion worth of recyclable materials are wasted annually.)
The new fund provides zero-interest loans to municipalities and below-market interest loans to private companies to develop local recycling infrastructure. Loans are repaid via landfill diversion savings and/or commodity revenue from the increase in recycling.
Ron Gonen, former deputy commissioner of sanitation for New York City and former CEO and co-founder of RecycleBank, which has raised $85 million in funding, is Closed Loop Fund’s co-founder. The founding corporate members of the fund include: Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Walmart, and Goldman Sachs.
Venture Capital & Early-Stage Investments
Smart LED Lighting Co. Digital Lumens Raises $23M Series C – 10/30/14
Boston, Mass.-based Digital Lumens received $23 million in Series C venture funding on Thursday, bringing the total amount raised to $65 million since its founding in 2008. The company produces energy-efficient software-driven LED lighting systems for commercial and industrial markets, which include fully integrated controls and reporting capabilities. It will use the funding to further product development and sales and marketing efforts and was named to the 2014 Global Cleantech 100 list last month.
Investors in its latest round include first-time backers Aster Capital and Goldman Sachs, as well as current investors Flybridge Capital Partners, Black Coral Capital, and Stata Venture Partners.
Black Coral Capital’s Rob Day praised Digital Lumens for its innovative “downstream” business model, which combines both hardware and software to deliver superior lighting solutions that can save 90% on energy bills.
Enlighted, a key LED light competitor and fellow Global Cleantech 100 list selection, was the “top pick” in the energy efficiency category by the list’s corporate judges. It recently launched an innovative new energy-efficiency business model of its own, called an “energy savings-as-a-service” model, which equates to zero-down financing of LED lighting and controls for buildings. The client then pays Enlighted a utility rate for the saved electricity that is 10 percent to 20 percent lower than they pay their local utility provider. Enlighted expects to line up project finance backers for its new financing program.
Enlighted raised $20 million in Series D funding in August and has raised $55.6 million to date since its founding in 2009. It is also expanding into Asian markets.
New Illinois Clean Energy Fund Makes 4 Investments – 10/27/14
Backed by federal and private funds, the Illinois Clean Energy Fund launched in June with $4.6 million in its coffers for investing in cleantech startups, in the form of convertible notes, with two caveats: they must already have a funding source of $1.5 million and commercially available products.
During the Illinois Clean Energy Fund Pitch contest last week, the fund doled out its inaugural investments to the following winners:
– Intellihot, a maker of tankless water heaters, won $400,000
– SiNode Systems, a maker of advanced materials for batteries in mobile devices, won $300,000 (also a finalist at the SXSW Eco Startups Showcase)
– AllCell Technologies, a manufacturer of high-power lithium-ion battery packs, spun out of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), won $200,000
– Agentis Energy, maker of energy-efficiency software to help utilities manage power consumption, won $100,000.
Organic Waste-to-Fuels Firm Harvest Power Raises $20M in Series D Funding – 10/27/14
Waltham, Mass.-based Harvest Power, which turns organic food waste into clean energy and natural soils, fertilizers, and mulches, raised $20 million in venture funding. This financing will allow Harvest to accelerate development of new opportunities in the clean energy space with its anaerobic digestion technologies, as well as provide growth capital for both its bulk and consumer organics businesses.
The latest round of investors included True North Venture Partners,Kleiner Perkins, DAG Ventures, Industry Ventures, and Generation Investment Management. The company, founded in 2008 and named to the 2014 Global Cleantech 100 list, has raised over $225 million in total funding to date.
NY Green Bank Makes First Transactions Totaling $800M – 10/22/14
New York Green Bank announced its first seven transactions totaling $800 million and focusing on solar projects and commercial and residential energy efficiency. The first transactions include: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BQ Energy, Citi, Deutsche Bank, First Eastern Investment Group, First Niagara Bank, GreenCity Power, M&T Bank, Renewable Funding, Sustainable Development Capital, and Tulum Management. Terms are still being finalized, and NY Green Bank is working to close the transactions by year-end.
According to the announcement, the total estimated carbon dioxide reduction from the $800 million in investments is approximately equivalent to removing 120,000 cars from the road each year or planting 15 million trees per year.
Startup Better Bean Harvests $1.5M Funding for Sustainable Food – 10/17/ 14
Better Bean, a Portland-based startup that was founded in 2009 and offers locally grown non-GMO beans in recyclable containers, has raised $1.5 million from “triple bottom line” investor Renewal Funds. It received Series A funding in January from investor Allen Alley and the Portland Seed Fund.
Other sustainable food investments made by Renewal Funds include Sweet Earth and Elevation Brands.