Cleantech Falls Hard in ’12; Kleiner Is Year’s Most Active Investor

Global cleantech venture investing fell hard in 2012, slumping 33% as confidence in the exit environment remained weak.

Venture investors put $6.46 billion to work during the year, down from $9.61 billion in 2011, the Cleantech Group reports. The number of deals came in at 704, which was down 15% from a year earlier and a sign that investors insist their money go further.

North American companies attracted 78% of the investment dollars while Europe and Israeli startups captured 17% and Asian Pacific businesses won 5%, the Cleantech Group said in its study.

The most active investor for the year was Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which completed 25 rounds. Draper Fisher Jurvetson and its global network were responsible for 22, and Khosla Ventures placed third with 18 rounds. The other top investors were Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital with 15 rounds, New Enterprise Associates with 12, Braemar Energy Ventures with 11 and Emerald Technology Ventures also with 11.

The Cleantech Group report found that the industry sectors receiving the most cash were: biofuels and biochemicals, with $952 million invested in 53 deals; transportation, with $927 million invested in 71 deals; and energy efficiency, with $907 million invested 140 deals.

The year saw 37 cleantech IPOs, 16 of which had venture backers, the Cleantech Group said. The M&A market generated 213 transactions. In only a small handful were the companies venture or private equity supported.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.