Venture Capital and Cleantech weekly update

01  Venture Capital and Cleantech weekly update

Vigilent, as developer of energy management systems for buildings with “hot” electronic equipment like data centers, has raised an undisclosed amount of VC funding from TELUS Ventures. Vigilent creates management systems for cooling buildings with electronic equipment that gives off a lot of heat such as data centers, telecommunications switches, and large commercial buildings. The backing by Telus comes after the deployment of Vigilent’s systems in three of Telus’s data centers.

“We feel that this is a very wise investment for our company,’ said Mathew George, vice-president of Telus Ventures. “We look for investment opportunities with companies that have both a strong earning potential and are focused on an area of interest for Telus – and this one definitely fits the bill.”


WeMonitor Inc., a developer of home energy efficiency monitoring products, announced it will receive $5.3 million in Series A funding from Dominion Investment Group. The funding  is the company’s first investment round.

With the funding, weMonitor plans to expand its technical and marketing team and release its first product offerings in the fourth quarter of 2013. WeMonitor has developed a computer program that can analyze a user’s energy consumption, and develop a plan to lower costs, said Robert Poor, the company’s vice president of marketing.

“We believe WeMonitor offers an excellent investment opportunity for our clients,” said Daryl Bank of Dominion Investment Group. “Market research predicts a 45 percent year-over-year growth in the Residential Energy Monitoring market, and WeMonitor is well positioned to become the dominant player in that market.”


NRG Energy Inc. (NRG) said a newly created unit, formed to operate renewable and conventional power assets and pay regular dividends to shareholders, plans to raise as much as $400 million in an initial share sale.

The unit, NRG Yield Inc., would own a mix of solar, wind and gas-fired generating assets and “pay a consistent and growing cash dividend,” it said today in a filing. The company intends to list its shares for trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NYLD. The number of shares to be offered and price weren’t disclosed. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup Global Markets are the underwriters on the offering.


Netatmo, an ‘Internet of Things’ startup which makes personal weather station and air quality sensor devices for use with Android and iOS apps, has just closed a $5.8 million funding round. It plans to use the funding to launch new connected devices in the second half of this year, including additional indoor air modules (to be announced this month), and also rain and wind meters.

Investors in the round include Iris Capital, FSN PME, which is the French National Fund for Digital Society, along with Pascal Cagni, Non Executive Director of Vivendi SA and Kingfisher PLC and former Vice-President & General Manager of Apple Europe, Middle East, India and Africa. This is the company’s first investment round.

Pascal Cagni added: ”The Internet of Things is the next step in the rise of an even more connected digital world… Thanks to Netatmo’s talented teams and ability to integrate advanced software with state-of-the-art hardware, this company is built to play a leading role in that revolution.”


Media company Bloomberg is launching its own venture capital fund, called Bloomberg Beta, a $75 million fund to invest in startups that are working on data and “making the experience of work better.” The fund, which has already put money into nine companies, is being led by Roy Bahat, chairman of video game hardware startup Ouya and former head of IGN Entertainment.

Bloomberg Beta was formed as an independent entity with Bloomberg as its sole LP, sort of along the lines of the Google Ventures model.  The fund has invested in nine startups already, including Newsle, MkII, Nodejitsu, Codecademy, Errplane, and ProsperWorks.


Cool Planet Energy Systems, a biofuel developer, has raised $29.9 million in Series D funding. It is hoping to raise a total of $100 million in the round, in order to fund construction of its first commercial production facility.

The first plant is expected to be completed by the end of 2014, though the location hasn’t been determined, according to Chief Financial Officer Barry Rowan.Cool Planet’s investors include AE Ventures, Google Ventures, GE Energy Financial Services, Shea Ventures and North Bridge Venture Partners and corporate investors including  BP Plc. , ConocoPhillips, NRG Energy Inc. and Exelon Corp. Each participated in the funding, Rowan said.


Greenleaf Power, an owner and operator of green energy power plants, said that it has finalized the purchase of the Tracy Biomass Plant. Greenleaf Power also operates the 47-megawatt Desert View Plant, the 30-megawatt Honey Lake Plant  and the 28-megawatt Eel River Plant.

The Tracy facility, Greenleaf’s fourth California biomass plant, generates 19 megawatts of electricity. Greenleaf Power purchased the Tracy facility from Iowa-based US Renewables Group, which has operated the Tracy plant since 2007. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Wireless Seismic Inc., a company that provides real-time, wireless seismic data for the oil and gas industry, has closed a $12.5 million funding round led by Total SA’s Total Energy Ventures and includes  Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Energy Ventures US Inc. Both Chesapeake and Energy Ventures have invested in previous Wireless Seismic funding rounds.

“Cable-less is becoming a new standard for land seismic acquisition work, and we are very excited to be investing in Wireless Seismic and to provide growth capital for a promising technology,” said Francois Badoual, CEO of Total Energy Ventures. “We believe that the real-time capability of Wireless Seismic’s RT System 2 can offer a substantial advantage in a broad range of operations.”


Luminus Devices, a manufacture of big chip LEDs, was acquired by San’an Optoelectronics for $22 million. Luminus’ technology is used in commercial and industrial lighting fixtures, theatrical lighting, projectors, signs, medical equipment. Financial details have not been disclosed.


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