Despite the tough funding climate, Braemar Energy Ventures - which has invested in some of cleantech's best and brightest companies - has raised $300 million for its third, oversubscribed venture capital fund.
Braemar invests in innovation across all energy sectors - fossil fuels, renewable energy and fuels, and energy efficiency. The great majority of its 60 portfolio companies are in smart grid, energy storage, lighting, biofuels and solar.
"We believe that technologies that improve both the efficient use and supply of energy will continue to meet one of the most pressing needs of the 21st century, says William Lese, cofounder and managing partner.
Braemar's portfolio includes many "firsts" which it highlights on its website: Astropower and Ballard, the first publicly traded solar and fuel cell companies; first VC investment in EnerNOC (Nasdaq: ENOC) leader in demand response; first VC investment in cellulosic ethanol in Celunol; and Solazyme(Nasdaq:SZYM), the first algae company to go public.
Even its investments in fossil fuels focus on innovations, such as Alfina, which converts hydrocarbon waste into syngas, CirisEnergy, which converts coal into cleaner fuels, and Fractal Systems, which is developing uses for waste oil.
They also invest in long shots like Climos, which is developing technology to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Other well-known cleantech companies backed by Braemar include car-charging company Coulomb Technologies and lithium battery maker A123 Systems (Nasdaq: AONE).
This week, Braemer was a lead investor in EcoMotors International, which raised $32.5 million in a Series C round that included investors Bill Gates and Khosla Ventures. EcoMotors is working on cleaner diesel, gasoline and compressed natural gas engines.
Braemar Energy Ventures III attracted investment from utility American Electric Power, several multinational energy companies from Asia and the Middle East, the Government of Singapore, the State of Rhode Island, and institutional investors from the US, Europe and Asia, such as Morgan Stanley Alternative Investments, Macquarie and GIC Special Investments, Munich Re, HarbourVest, Rothschild Investment Trust and Invesco on behalf of the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS).
Here's their website: