VCJ Cover Story: Biofuels Litmus Test

The IPO market has been quiet for a couple of months, and the Solyndra bankruptcy has cast a pall over the VC-backed cleantech sector.

But that could change soon, as a total of 15 cleantech companies wait in registration for a chance to launch public offerings, including a handful of biofuels developers. Combined, they could offer a useful barometer of just how far the cleantech window will open for the remainder of this year and in 2012.

As Mark Boslet reported in the November issue of VCJ, which comes out today, among the strongest candidates in the current line up is Silver Spring Networks, a Redwood City, Calif.-based company with $115.5 million in revenue through the first six months of the year and a growth rate of 432 percent. The smart grid networking company needs to continue its surge by landing more contracts with utilities, but is likely to be well received by investors when it launches its public debut.

Also at the top of the list and expected to do well are Northborough, Mass.-based Aspen Aerogels and Enphase Energy of Petaluma, Calif.

Aspen, a maker of piping insulation with such customers as NextEra Energy and ExxonMobil, had six-month revenue that grew 43% to $26.1 million, although the company is not yet at positive cash flow.

Enphase, the manufacturer of a micro-inverter that converts energy from solar modules to usable power, reported $48.1 million of revenue through June that grew 115 percent. The company, however, needs better penetration of the commercial market and has yet to generate a positive cash flow.

If they can successfully float shares, the path will look far more inviting for the several hundred cleantech companies believed to be candidates for public offerings.

“If these companies can get out and they are able to perform, it will open a huge window,” Peter Grubstein a managing member of cleantech venture firm NGEN Partners, tells VCJ.

To read more about the cleantech IPO market and how 10 of the 16 companies tracked by VCJ have shares trading above or close to their offering prices, click here for the full story.

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And if you want to chat more about the cleantech sector or other hot trends, send an email to Alastair Goldfisher at [email protected].

(Photo by Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock)

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