D.light Design Receives $6 Million in Series A Funding

D.light Design

D.light Design, a New Delhi, India-based social enterprise that is developing lighting solutions to replace the use of kerosene lanterns by families who don't have adequate electricity, announced earlier this month that it secured $6 million in Series A financing.  This financing was led by Nexus India Capital and included participation from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Garage Technology Ventures, the Mahindra Group, and social funds Acumen Fund and Gray Matters Capital.

D.light Design's mission is to replace every kerosene lantern in the world to provide everyone access to a basic human need: safe and bright light. By 2017, the company is aiming to have improved the lives of 150 million individuals.  The following interview of D.light Design CEO Sam Goldman provides some additional background on the company:

D.light introduced its first lighting products earlier this year.  The company's products are being sold in India and Africa, with market tests ongoing throughout the world.  One of these products – the Nova – is shown below.  It can be charged via AC or solar power (click the image for additional product information).

D.light Design: Nova

"D.light has a mission to eliminate kerosene lamps in our villages by providing high quality solar-based solutions at price points significantly below comparable products," said Sandeep Singhal, Partner at Nexus India Capital. "The productivity improvement from their solution is huge and we are very excited to be backing a team that has the commitment and leadership to fulfill this mission."

"We are delighted to receive the financial support of such a renowned team of investors. This is a high vote of confidence in our products and our business model," said D.light Design CEO Sam Goldman. "We look forward to better serving the millions of households who deserve and aspire for an increasingly higher quality of life – with greater economic and educational opportunities – that modern lighting provides."

For more information:

Planet Metrics Launches, Announces $2.3 Million in Series A Financing

Planet Metrics

Planet Metrics, a San Francisco-based carbon information management software company, announced today the launch of the company and the close of $2.3 million in Series A funding.  Funding to Planet Metrics was provided by angel investors and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

Planet Metrics' services are designed to help businesses understand where carbon emissions occur in their business, what drives these emissions, how they can be reduced, and where changing fuel, energy, or carbon costs may impact the cost of doing business.  Planet Metrics utilizes what it describes as a Rapid Carbon Modeling (RCM) approach, which it states provides corporate managers with broader and deeper views of the carbon intensity associated with business activities in the supply chain, product design, packaging, logistics and waste streams.  A visual representation of Planet Metrics' RCM approach is provided below (click for full-size image):

Planet Metrics Rapid Carbon Modeling

"Corporate social responsibility initiatives have moved from peripheral 'nice to haves' to core business strategies. Environmental solutions are now about saving money by using fewer resources," said Andy Leventhal, CEO and co-founder of Planet Metrics. "In tough economic times, companies search for efficiency. Organizations can achieve high ROI by analyzing the way they manage their facilities, build products and services, transport and distribute goods to customers. Our software builds a carbon model that helps Fortune 1000 companies understand, develop and deploy sustainability strategies which directly affect bottom line financial performance."

Raj Atluru, Managing Director at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, said, "We're thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Planet Metrics to help leading brands understand how they can best drive efficiencies into their businesses while lessening the harmful gases they emit into the environment. The Planet Metrics team has the industry's best minds, unbridled passion and commitment to customers to effectively drive this game-changing solution at such an important time in our world."

Planet Metrics also announced today that the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which produces the annual International CES, the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow, has chosen Planet Metrics to measure and analyze the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gases emitted as a result of its upcoming 2009 event.

For more information:

Konarka Opens World’s Largest Roll-to-Roll Flexible Thin Film Solar Manufacturing Facility


Konarka Technologies, Inc., a Lowell, Massachusetts-based developer and manufacturer of solar plastic films, recently announced that it opened the largest roll-to-roll flexible thin film solar manufacturing facility in the world.  The facility is in a 250,000 square foot building in New Bedford, Massachusetts that was previously used by Polaroid Corporation. The following video provides a brief overview of the company:

"This facility has state-of-the-art printing capabilities that are ready for full operation, with the future potential to produce over a gigawatt of flexible plastic solar modules per year," commented Howard Berke, executive chairman and co-founder of Konarka. "Our technical leadership and innovation in flexible thin film solar, along with this facility’s capabilities of producing in excess of 10 million square meters of material per year, will allow us to produce Power Plastic for indoor, portable, outdoor and building integrated applications."

"Since 2001, Konarka has taken revolutionary lab discoveries from its founding scientists to pilot production for initial customers and now to full-scale manufacturing with the near future capacity of one gigawatt per year, which could contribute to the power and electricity needs of our nation and the avoidance of CO2 emissions," said Rick Hess, president and CEO at Konarka. "As one of the original recipients of the Solar American Initiative (SAI) awards in 2007, Konarka is furthering the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) vision to reach its goal of making solar electricity from photovoltaics cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity."

"With our nationally recognized technology expertise and resources, Massachusetts is becoming a global center for alternative and renewable energy, and Konarka is helping to solidify our commitment to a clean energy future and ongoing economic development and job growth in the Commonwealth," said, Daniel O’Connell, Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development.

Scott W. Lang, Mayor of New Bedford, added, "We are excited that Konarka is bringing new jobs to help further drive the economy and interest in the city of New Bedford, and we are proud that our city is home once again to an industry leading manufacturing plant."

Konarka has obtained more than $100 million from venture capital and private equity funds thusfar, including 3i Group, Chevron, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Good Energies, Massachusetts Green Energy Fund, Mackenzie Financial, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and Asenqua Ventures.  The company has also received $18 million in government agency research grants from the U.S. and Europe.

For more information:

Google.org Executive Director Dr. Larry Brilliant to Present at DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Program on May 14

On Wednesday, May 14, Dr. Larry Brilliant, Executive Director of Google.org, will be the speaker at the DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Program at Stanford University.  This program is also known as course Management Science & Engineering (MS&E) 472.   

The DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Program is a weekly lecture series during the academic year where entrepreneurial leaders share their insights with the Stanford community.  The program is provided by Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students (BASES) and the Stanford Technology Ventures Program and is sponsored by Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

This program is free and open to the public and will take place on the Stanford University campus in Skilling Auditorium from 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm.  This program will also be available via podcast and video.

For more information:

Luminus Devices Closes $72 Million Round of VC Funding

Luminus Devices logo

Luminus Devices, Inc. a Billerica, Massachusetts-based company that develops and manufactures high-performance solid state light sources, announced on Monday that it has closed a $72 million round of venture capital financing.  This round was led by Braemar Energy Ventures.  Other participants in this round included CMEA Ventures, Paladin Capital Group, and Luminus’ previous investors, which include Battery Venture Partners, Argonaut Private Equity, Stata Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DFJ-New England and Eastward Capital.

Luminus Devices’ patented PhlatLight technology (Photonic Lattice Light), based on research from MIT, is a new type of solid state light source that combines the benefits of both LED and laser technology.  The company states that among the benefits of its PhlatLight technology are environmental benefits such as reduced power consumption needs as compared to other lighting sources.  This is illustrated in the following chart of power needs for lighting projection televisions (PTV): 

Luminus Devices chart

In its funding announcement, the company stated that this funding highlights the strategic shift it is undertaking to offer its technology to a broader set of markets than the TV and display industry it has previously served. According to Udi Meirav, CEO of Luminus Devices:

It’s a big vote of confidence in our company and in the future of solid-state lighting, and we are thrilled to have such strong backing from Braemar, CMEA, Paladin, and our other new investors, as well as the continued support of our earlier investors.  This investment enables a new phase in the growth of our company, and it will provide us with the resources to expand our product line, serve new markets and deliver the full value of our technology to our growing roster of customers.

For more information:

Churchill Club to Present Program “The Green Rush: Prospects, Perils, and Opportunities” on January 29

On January 29, 2008, the Churchill Club, in partnership with the Thunderbird Global Private Equity Center (TPEC), will present a program entitled "The Green Rush: Prospects, Perils, and Opportunities."  This program will provide an overview of the cleantech industry and discuss topics such as what are promising green technologies and whether investments in cleantech/greentech will continue at their recent record pace.  The panelists for this program will be:

This event will take place at 7:00 pm (6:00 pm buffet) at the SRI International Building, 333 Ravenswood Avenue, Menlo Park, California.  The advance registration cost for the program is $58 for Churchill Club members and $72 for non-members.  The on-site registration price is $70 for Churchill Club members and $85 for non-members.  For more information:

Cleantech Venture Capital Investing Sets Record in 2007

According to data released by Thomson Financial and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), United States venture capital firms have invested a record annual amount in “cleantech” in 2007. Through September 30, 2007, the amount invested was $2.6 billion, which exceeded the previous annual record of $1.8 billion, which was for the total year of 2006.  Note that this 2007 figure includes three large deals totaling approximately $818 million. 

The following chart illustrates the trend in cleantech investing by U.S. venture capital firms:

In commenting on cleantech investment, NVCA president Mark Heesen, said:

There are major opportunities for venture capitalists to totally reshape the energy market throughout the world as governments, consumers, and companies are demanding innovation in this space. However, as has been demonstrated in the IT and life science arenas, investing in new technologies can be fraught with pitfalls and is not for the inexperienced or the faint of heart. Prudent, long-term, knowledge based investment in cutting edge technologies has been the hallmark of venture capital in the past and should be the mantra in the CleanTech space as well. Short-term ‘tourists’ should steer clear.

Some highlights of 2007 cleantech venture investing are listed below.  Please refer to the announcement from Thomson Financial and the National Venture Capital Association for additional information.

(Q1-Q3 2007, based on number of deals)
Source: Thomson Financial/NVCA

(Q1-Q3 2007)
Source: Thomson Financial/NVCA

  • Solar-Related Energy – $664.6 Million (35 deals)
  • Alternative Energy, including Nuclear (excluding wind, solar, geothermal, co-generation) – $317.5 Million (33 deals)
  • Power Supplies – $183.9 Million (25 deals)
  • Pollution and Recycling – $146.4 Million (19 deals)
  • Wind Energy – $62.9 Million (4 deals)