Q2 Cleantech Venture Capital Drops

Venture capital invested in cleantech companies dropped a substantial 25% in the second quarter (Q2) from Q2 2011, and declined 14% from the first quarter of 2012, according to Cleantech Group.

$1.6 billion less poured into companies worldwide than in Q1, in just 155 deals, compared to 197 in Q1.

92 of the 155 deals in Q2 went to companies that previously received backing, as venture capitalists continued to avoid risky startups and bolster existing portfolio companies.

"Despite headwinds facing the sector and global economic instability, we continue to observe top tier funds such as Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, NEA, and others actively investing into cleantech," says Sheeraz Haji, CEO of Cleantech Group. "While some may be ducking ‘cleantech’ as a label in North America, growth in technologies addressing resource and energy challenges remains strong and both corporate and investor interest remains high."

Leading investment sectors continue to be solar, transportation and energy efficiency.

The most active firms were Draper Fisher Jurvetson (and DFJ Global Network), Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), Khosla Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and VantagePoint Capital Partners.

Regionally speaking, North America drew 81% of the venture capital ($1.31 billion, off 8%), with companies in California, Massachusetts and Texas claiming the most money.

Europe and Israel were each the focus of 15% of the activity ($237 million each), while innovators in Asia Pacific received 4% ($63 million).

There were 9 IPOs – all in China- raising $1.79 billion. In North America, three companies withdrew IPOs because of unfavorable market conditions: BrightSource Energy, Enerkem and Luca Technologies.

Solar, Transportation Vie For First Place

Solar captured the most funding ($253 million), but much less than the $329 million in Q1, followed by transportation ($252 million), energy efficiency ($243 million) and water ($135 million).

Energy efficiency startups got the most deals (35), following by solar (22). Water companies generated 17 deals.

Here’s how the numbers add up:

SOLAR – $253 million in 22 deals

  • SunRun (California), $60 million for residential solar
  • NanoSolar (California), $50 million for CIGS thin-film solar
  • SolarBridge Technologies (Texas), $25 million for module-integrated microinverters

TRANSPORTATION – $252 million in 10 deals

  • Fisker Automotive (California), $129 million for luxury electric vehicles
  • Coulomb Technologies (California), $47.5 million for electric vehicle charging technology
  • SmartDrive Systems (California), $47 million for fleet management technology

ENERGY EFFICIENCY – $242 million in 35 deals

  • Soladigm (California), $55 million for energy-efficient glass
  • SunSun Lighting (China), $30 million for LED lighting
  • TerraLUX (Colorado), $18.3 million for LED lighting
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