Bruce V. Bigelow of the UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER on November 29, 2007
Funding by venture capital firms in “clean tech” topped $2.6 billion through the first nine months of 2007, a number that exceeds the $1.78 billion invested in all of 2006.
Of the total, more than $726 million was invested in 68 companies in California, according to data released yesterday by Thomson Financial and the National Venture Capital Association.
Silicon Valley accounted for more than 84 percent of the California funding and 49 of the deals, with Thomson Financial counting $11.5 million going to two clean-tech deals in the San Diego region.
Actual numbers may vary.
PowerGenix, a San Diego startup that has been developing rechargeable nickel-zinc batteries, got $15 million in venture funding this year, Chief Executive Dan Squiller said.
The Thomson data, which are based on a survey of venture-capital firms, showed that PowerGenix got $8.5 million from Palo Alto’s Technology Partners and an undisclosed venture firm.
The data also showed a $3 million investment in Enviance, a Carlsbad company offering software as a service that helps customers better manage their compliance with environmental, health and safety regulations.
The underlying trend, though, reflects a surge in venture-capital funding for new “clean and green” technologies that range from substitutes for petroleum-based fuels to new types of solar power, fuel cells and energy-saving software and computer chips.
“San Diego is typically known more for its biotech companies,” Squiller said. “But San Diego also is a hotbed for clean-tech companies.”
Investments by U.S. venture firms in clean-technology startups have been increasing rapidly, from $590 million in 63 deals in 2000 to $1.78 billion in 180 deals in 2006, according to the Thomson data.
The $2.6 billion invested so far this year went into 168 deals, although the three largest ones were outside the United States: a $500 million investment in the Netherlands’ Delta Hydrocarbon BV, a $200 million deal with Brazil’s Brazilian Renewable Energy Co. and a $118 million investment in China’s Yingli Green Energy Holding Co.
The largest segment of U.S. investments involves solar technologies, with nearly $665 million in 35 deals nationwide. Investments in alternative energy, which excludes wind, solar, geothermal and cogeneration, amounted to almost $318 million in 33 deals, with venture funding for power-supply technologies amounting to $184 million in 25 deals.
Bruce Bigelow: (619) 293-1314; firstname.lastname@example.org