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Cleantech Venture Investing Rebounds

Cleantech venture investing rebounded in the second quarter with $1.76 billion of capital deployed across the globe, according to the Cleantech Group. That’s up 56% from the depressed levels of the first quarter and up 9% from the second quarter of 2012.

Publicly Traded GSV Capital Acquires New Stakes in Five VC-Backed Startups

GSV Capital, a closed-end, publicly traded investment fund that’s been snapping up stakes in venture-backed private companies, announced today that it has recently acquired share in five companies: Bloom Energy, Chegg, Gilt Groupe, Silver Spring Networks, and Serious Energy. Woodside, Calif.-based GSV went public in April of this year. Since then, it has also acquired […]

Slideshow: Solar Still Drives Cleantech Investing

Solar continued to be the driving force behind cleantech investing in the first quarter as venture capitalists shifted dollars to more mature, later stage companies.

The quarter saw investors worldwide pour $2.57 billion into 159 companies, a 13% increase in dollars from last year, according to the Cleantech Group. The majority of the money – 93% – went to follow-on rounds.

Surprisingly, this more cautious environment was fertile ground for solar deals. Solar startups attracted $641 million, or 24% of total dollars, as several big deals led the way. The next closest industry sector was transportation, with less than half the committed dollars.

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Slideshow: The Cleantech Companies Best Positioned to Go Public

Cleantech IPOs may be gaining momentum.

Solar plant developer BrightSource Energy filed what is certain to be an explosive initial public offering last week. A couple months earlier biochemical maker Gevo launched its IPO to what proved to be a warm reception. Experimental algae-to-fuel company Solazyme is waiting in the wings.

Which company will be next? In November, Venture Capital Journal published a list of the most likely and lucrative cleantech IPOs of 2011. At the top of our list was BrightSource, so we are off to a good start.

Watch our slideshow to see the other six cleantech companies VCJ believes have a very good shot of going public this year. Our investment data comes from Thomson Reuters, publisher of this blog.

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Last VC Call for Bloom Energy: Fuel Cell Startup Seeks $50 Million

Fuel cell maker Bloom Energy is seeking $50 million, in what it’s telling prospective investors will be their last chance to buy in before an IPO.

Existing shareholder Northgate Capital is somehow involved, although I’m not certain if it’s as lead investor or as quasi-placement agent (or both). No word on if other insiders plan to return pro rata.

Bloom is a fascinating company, because it is so remarkably divisive among cleantech investors.

Proponents consider it to be the energy industry’s Google, a revolutionary company that will become ubiquitous. They talk about $20 billion as a floor for the post-IPO valuation — which I hear is slated for late next year — with $40 billion being within the realm of possibility.

Greentech Musings on this Green St. Patty’s Day: It’s US vs UK

Owing much to my provincial attitude, I’ve never given much thought to the notion that U.S. cleantech investors are that much different from their U.K. cousins. Thankfully, there are bloggers doing that comparison for me. Such is the case if you read this article by SolveClimate, an Internet news site that aims to cover climate […]

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Bloom Energy Gets Ready for its Close-Up

Bloom Energy has been developing its “power plant in a box” for the past decade, but has played very coy when it comes to specifics. Beta clients have been asked to keep quiet, and Bloom investors have done little but offer knowing smiles. Approximately $400 million in venture capital thrown into a black box (both literally and figuratively).

Well, until tonight.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company gave a sneak peak to 60 Minutes, just two days before the formal unveiling. Pretty good PR coup, even though the piece did give some voice to Bloom’s legions of skeptics.

In short, Bloom promises to build boxes as small or as large as the customer needs (shoebox for a home, foot locker for a small store, multiple refrigerator-sized boxes for industrial facility). Each is filled with stacked ceramic disks, which are imprinted with a type of ink that you won’t find in your ballpoint.

You can view the 60 Minutes segment after the jump. My only quibble is that Leslie Stahl notes how Colin Powell has “endorsed” Bloom, without also mentioning that he’s a special limited partner in Bloom investor Kleiner Perkins:

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