Green VC

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Category: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Fisker Automotive Receives $65 Million in Series C Round of Financing

Fisker Automotive

Fisker Automotive, a green American premium sports car company, announced on September 9th that it completed a $65 million Series C round of financing on September 4th. This round was led by a new investor, an affiliate of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Existing investors Palo Alto Investors and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers also participated in the round.

The funds will be used to support the development of the company’s first production car, the Fisker Karma, a four-door plug-in hybrid premium sports car.  The company stated that initial deliveries of the Karma are expected to begin in Q4 2009, with annual production projected to reach 15,000.

"We are extremely pleased to have closed our C financing round at this time, particularly in light of the current market conditions," said Henrik Fisker, CEO, Fisker Automotive, Inc. "This shows once again that Fisker Automotive has a solid business plan and a globally experienced automotive team with very strong investors behind the company."

The Fisker Karma was introduced earlier this year at the North American International Auto Show.  The following video provides an initial look at the car from this event.

Fisker Automotive was founded in 2007 by Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. and Fisker Coachbuild, LLC.

For more information:

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Expands Greentech Initiative with $500 Million Green Growth Fund and $700 Million KPCB XIII Fund

On May 1st, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, made two announcements on expansions to the firm’s greentech initiatives.

KPCB’s first announcement was the launch of its Green Growth Fund – a new $500 million investment fund designed to help accelerate mass market adoption of solutions to the global climate crisis.  The Green Growth Fund will be co-managed by KPCB Partners John Denniston and Ben Kortlang and extends the firm’s current investment efforts, which have previously focused primarily on startups, to support companies that have moved beyond their initial stage.  KPCB Partner John Doerr said:

We urgently need to advance our greentech industry at a speed and scale commensurate with the challenges we face.  We believe green technologies are both the key to solving our energy crisis and a tremendous business opportunity.

One of the organizations providing a significant commitment of funding to the Green Growth Fund is Generation Investment Management (Generation), whose chairman Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and Nobel Laureate, joined KPCB as Partner in 2007.  KPCB and Generation previously announced an alliance on November 12, 2007 to work together to find, fund and accelerate green solutions with the greatest potential to help solve the climate crisis.  Generation co-founder and Managing Partner David Blood said:

There is a significant gap between the capital needed and the capital currently deployed to create enduring solutions to the climate crisis. We’re eager to deepen our collaboration with KPCB by working closely with the Green Growth Fund to identify growth-stage investment opportunities.

KPCB’s second announcement was the formation of KPCB XIII, a $700 million fund that will include greentech in the scope of its investments (the other areas KPCB XIII will invest in are information technology and life sciences). KPCB XIII will primarily support early-stage entrepreneurs, while the Green Growth Fund will support companies in their growth phase. 

It is expected that KPCB partners working on greentech investments in both funds will work together and that this will provide benefits to KPCB portfolio companies in both funds.  According to Kortlang:

The venture and growth partners will work together as one team, in one office.  There’ll be many synergies: partners dealing with the more mature companies can contribute expertise with market dynamics, financing and regulation, while those involved with startups can offer cutting-edge technology insight and policy leadership. The common denominator in both funds will be exceptional company-building skills.

KPCB has began investing in the greentech sector and advocating policy innovations to address the climate crisis since 2002. The firm has committed hundreds of millions of dollars to more than 30 entrepreneurs in areas including power generation, fuel, transportation, energy storage, and energy efficiency.  KPCB’s current greentech portfolio includes:

The following video is a presentation by KPCB Partner John Doerr from March 2007.

For more information:

RecycleBank Closes $30 Million in Series B Funding

RecycleBank. a Philadelphia-based company that provides financial benefits for households to recycle, has closed a $30 million round of series B venture capital financing, according to VentureWire (via Private Equity HUB).  This round was led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, with series A investors RRE Ventures and Sigma Partners also participating.  RecycleBank has also previously received seed funding from Columbia Universitys Eugene M. Lang Center for Entrepreneurship and a $2 million investment from The Coca-Cola Company.

As described by RecycleBank, its core service framework is as follows:

  • Households receive a cart embedded with an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip and all recyclables are placed into the cart for curbside pickup.
  • Recycling trucks retrofitted with RecycleBank technology read the RFID chip and record the amount the household recycles.
  • The weight and participation is then translated into RecycleBank Reward Points which households can view and redeem at www.recyclebank.com.
  • These Points can be used with more than 400 national RecycleBank Reward Partners such as Coca-Cola, IKEA, Starbucks Coffee and Kraft Foods, as well as local reward partners such as restaurants and grocery stores.

RecycleBank was founded in 2004 and currently provides service in more than 35 municipalities in the states of Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.  The company states that more than 36 million tons of recyclables have been diverted from landfills through use of its services.

RecycleBank is planning to expand nationally in 2008 and in February announced the addition of Doug Lebda (President and COO of IAC; Founder of LendingTree) to its Board of Directors in furtherance of these plans.

The video below provides a brief overview of RecycleBank:

For more information:

Three Venture Capital Firms Selected for U.S. Department of Energy “Entrepreneur in Residence” Program

U.S. Department of Energy

On February 27, 2008,  U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alexander Karsner announced the selection of three venture capital firms to participate in the pilot of DOE’s new Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program

The EIR pilot program will place three entrepreneurs (one selected and sponsored by each of the three participating venture capital firms) into three DOE National Laboratories to help bring promising new clean energy technologies developed by these laboratories to market.  Among their activities, the entrepreneurs will conduct technology assessments, evaluate market opportunities, and develop business cases.  The DOE is providing up to $100,000 for each entrepreneur to help defray salary and other expenses and each participating VC firm will match the DOE funding and may contribute additional funds to support its entrepreneur’s work.

Once a laboratory-developed technology is identified for commercialization, the entrepreneurs and their VC sponsors will negotiate with the DOE to license the technology.  It is intended that the VC sponsors will eventually form and finance a start-up company to commercialize the licensed clean energy technologies.

The three VC firms selected to participate in the EIR pilot program (and the associated DOE National Laboratory that their entreprenuer will work with) are as follows:

For more information:

Green Venture Capitalists Highlighted by Forbes

Growing Up Green is an article in the February 11, 2008 issue of Forbes that discusses how a new generation of venture capitalists are focusing on cleantech / greentech. The article spotlights three venture capitalists under 40 — Aileen Lee and Trae Vassallo (Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) and Samir Kaul (Khosla Ventures) and states that:

These three are among venture capital’s new guard. Like their predecessors, they’re smart, driven to win and inclined to gravitate to the biggest opportunity they can find. Ten years ago it was software and telecom. Two years ago it was the Web. Now the fad is all things green: renewable fuels, electric cars, smart power grids, clean coal.

The article also highlights different perspectives — both the optimism and concern — in the venture capital community regarding the opportunities in cleantech / greentech.  For more information:

The Wall Street Journal Presents “ECO:nomics – Creating Environmental Capital” Conference on March 12-14

The Wall Street Journal will present an executive-level conference from March 12-14, 2008 in Santa Barbara, California entitled "ECO:nomics – Creating Environmental Capital" that focuses on the challenges and opportunities in the green business market.  Examples of some of the event’s sessions include:

  • Green Deals: The Environmental Factor in Corporate Investments
    Venture capitalists are pouring huge amounts of money into "greentech" companies. What’s the payoff likely to be?
    – John Doerr – Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers
  • Green Giants: The Rapid Rise of Big Renewable-Energy Players
    The price of producing electricity from solar and wind power keeps declining. Here’s a look at some major global players and their successes to date.
    – Miles George – CEO, Babcock & Brown Wind Partners
    – Dr. Zhengrong Shi – Chairman of the Board and CEO, Suntech Power Holdings

In the press release announcing this event, Alan Murray, executive editor of Wall Street Journal Online, said, "In the last year, there has been a sea change in the way the environment is viewed in the C-suites of large corporations.  We created this conference to bring the Journal’s level of thinking and analysis to this issue, and help companies understand how to both maximize the economic opportunities created by this heightened environmental consciousness, and minimize any economic pain."

For more information on this conference, including registration details, please visit the ECO:nomics – Creating Environmental Capital event website.

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.

1.) TOP CLEANTECH VC FIRMS
(Q1-Q3 2007, based on number of deals)
Source: Thomson Financial/NVCA

2.) CLEANTECH VENTURE INVESTMENT – BY CATEGORY
(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)

Al Gore Becomes Partner at VC Firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Part of Broader Collaboration to Accelerate Green Solutions

On November 12 Generation Investment Management (Generation) and the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) announced a collaboration to "find, fund and accelerate green business, technology and policy solutions with the greatest potential to help solve the current climate crisis."  As part of this collaboration former Vice President Al Gore will now serve as a partner at KPCB and KPCB partner John Doerr will serve on Generation’s Advisory Board.  Al Gore is the co-founder and chair of Generation.

The two organizations will work together in areas including renewable energy technologies, building efficiency, cleaner fossil energy, sustainable agriculture and carbon markets.  KPCB, which has previously invested in companies including Amazon.com, Genentech, and Google, currently has a Greentech initiative (some of their current Greentech investments are listed here).

In commenting on this new collaboration, Mr. Gore said, "This alliance brings together world-class business talent to focus on solving the climate crisis. Together, we have a working understanding of this urgent, multi-dimensional challenge and are resolved to help business and government leaders accelerate the development of sustainable solutions."

For more information:

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