Cleantech Venture Investment Up 12% From Previous Quarter

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According to the latest from the Cleantech Group, a global research firm tracking innovation in the cleantech sector, venture investment in the industry grew 12% in Q3 2011 ($1.98 billion) compared to the previous quarter, and is up 23% since Q3 2010 ($1.81 billion). Worldwide, there were 189 deals totaling $2.23 billion.

In Q2 2011, there were 179 deals, for comparison purposes. Of this quarter’s deals, 59% were Series B or later rounds, accounting for 81% ($1.81 billion) of all investments.

IPO and M&A activity were slower in Q3 compared with the first half the year, the group found, but M&A activity was up from last year. Two acquisitions in the water and wastewater sub-sector were the highlights. These included Ecolab, which acquired water treatment service provider Nalco Holdings for $5.4 billion, and Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings, which acquired British water utility company Northumbrian Water for $3.9 billion.

In terms of IPOs, China came out on top, with 11 of the 14 IPOs this quarter. Four of these were for Chinese solar cell or panel manufacturers raising a total of $812 million.

For the first time ever, energy storage was the leading sector by amount invested ($514 million), followed by solar ($350M), and energy efficiency ($223M). Energy efficiency saw the highest number of deals (34), followed by solar (33) and energy storage (19).

Here’s the further breakdown by sector:

ENERGY STORAGE – $514 million in 19 deals

  • Bloom Energy, a California-based developer of solid-oxide fuel cell technology, raised $150 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Enterprise Associates and others
  • Boston-Power, a Massachusetts-based producer of lithium-ion batteries, raised $125 million from Foundation Asset Management, Oak Investment Partners and others

SOLAR – $350 million in 33 deals

  • HelioVolt, a Texas-based developer of CIGS thin-film solar cells, raised $85 million from New Enterprise Associates and SK Group
  • OneRoof Solar, a California-based developer, owner and operator of solar energy generation systems for the residential market, raised $50 million from Black Coral Capital, Spring Ventures and others
  • CaliSolar, a California-based developer of solar cells that allow the use of non-pure silicon in the manufacturing process, raised $26 million from undisclosed investors

ENERGY EFFICIENCY – $223 million in 34 deals

  • SynapSense, a California-based provider of data center efficiency solutions, raised $16 million from Emerald Technology Ventures, Sequoia Capital and others
  • Elstat, a UK-based provider of energy management devices for commercial beverage coolers, raised $15 million from Environmental Technologies Fund

TRANSPORTATION – $177 million in 15 deals

  • Coda Automotive, a California-based manufacturer of electric vehicles, raised $66 million from Aeris Capital, Angeleno Group and others in two investment tranches
  • INRIX, a Washington-based provider of a predictive traffic services and solutions, raised $37 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and August Capital
  • SmartDrive Systems, a California-based provider of fleet management solutions, raised $10 million from New Enterprise Associates and Oak Investment Partners

In addition, North America accounted for 76% of the total amount invested in Q3, followed by Asia Pacific (14%) and Europe & Israel (10%). North American companies raised $1.69 billion, up 17% from Q2 and up 59% from this quarter last year. California led the way with $654 million investment (39%), followed by Massachusetts ($176 million, 10%) and New Mexico (175 million, 10%). Canada saw a drop with $33 million invested across 8 deals. The largest deals were Sundrop Fuels ($175 million), Bloom Energy ($150 million) and Boston-Power ($125 million).

European and Israeli companies raised $230 million, down 34% from Q2, and down 32% from this time last year. There were 40 deals, down from 44 last quarter. The largest deals were for Nexeon ($65 million), Elstat ($15 million) and EcoEridania ($14 million).

Asian companies raised $303 million in 21 disclosed rounds. India ranked 3rd after the U.S. and the U.K. in amount raised, but China ranked third in number of deals globally. The largest deals were for Soma Enterprise ($110 million), Champions of the Earth ($52 million) and Changxing Wind Power ($47 million).