U.S. Cleantech Venture Deals Soar; A123 Tops New England List

U.S. venture capital firms poured money into clean technology startups in the first half of 2007, investing $892.6 million in 71 deals, a 70 percent jump from the $525 million put into 46 deals a year earlier, according to a report released yesterday by Dow Jones VentureOne and Ernst & Young. The funding surge helped propel clean technology’s share of U.S. venture investment to 5.4 percent of the total for the period—its biggest share ever—up from just 1.4 percent in 2001.

Four New England deals represented about 7 percent of the total invested in clean energy in the U.S. during the period, a VentureOne spokesman reported. Funding figures were not available for a fifth local company that also received venture backing. Of the four whose funding figures are known, A123 Systems of Watertown, MA, which received $40 million in venture investment, led the New England pack.

Here’s the list—albeit a short one—of New England clean-technology venture financings for the first half of 2007.

A123 Systems, Watertown, MA / $40 million raised / Investors include General Electric, Motorola, North Bridge Venture Partners, QualComm, Sequoia Capital, and others

The company, which has received more than $100 million in total funding, makes high-power lithium ion batteries for electric and hybrid cars and other applications.

Advanced Electron Beams, Wilmington, MA / $17.5 million raised / Latest round investors: Atlas Venture, General Catalyst Partners, RockPort Capital Partners

AEB develops electron beam technology for clean, efficient form of industrial energy.

Ze-Gen, Boston / $4.5 million raised / Latest round investors: Flagship Ventures, VantagePoint Venture Partners

Ze-gen makes gasification technology that converts waste into clean-burning “syngas.” See our profile.

Greentech Media, Cambridge, MA / $1 million raised / Latest round investors: Lightspeed Venture Partners, individual investors

This market-research and online news web site covers the clean energy arena. See our story.

SolarOne Solutions, Framingham, MA / unknown amount raised / Latest round investor: TSG Equity Partners

SolarOne makes more than one solar-powered lighting system.

In addition to these venture financings, two other area firms are notable for U.S. government grants they received.

Mascoma, Cambridge, MA / $4.9 million grant from U.S. Department of Energy

Ethanol production from cellulosic biomass is this firm’s expertise.

Konarka Technologies, Lowell, MA / $1.2 million (up to $3.6 million over three years) DOE grant

Konarka is a leading maker of nanotech-based solar materials.

Bob is Xconomy's founder and chairman. You can email him at bbuderi@xconomy.com. Follow @bbuderi

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