Monday, November 12, 2007

Al Gore joins Kleiner Perkins as a Partner....

Earth2Tech reports that Al Gore will become a partner at Kleiner Perkins, focusing on clean technology of course.

Apparently Gore did diligence for Kleiner on Ausra, a very interesting solar thermal startup with a new technology approach.

Very interesting news....

Thursday, October 25, 2007

DOE IAP Internships

Just a heads up that we are working with the DOE to get internships for MIT students for the month of January. While it is a bit frustrating that it has taken so long and we still don't have the description, when(maybe if) it comes through, it should be very good. That is the way the DOE seems to work.
Some very good people down there but there is far more important work to be done then there are resources. MIT Grad and Energy Club member, Brian Curtis, is now doing work for the DOE and is a friendly face in the headquarters building at 1000 Independence Avenue. Jacques Beaudry-Losique is the Program Manager of the Biomass Office and a good friend of MIT and has been a frequent visitor to MIT to assess the Biomass lay of the land here. Craig Cornelius, the head of their Solar Energy Technologies Program was here a little over a week ago to meet with students and also came to Energy Night (and was duly impressed -- Kudos Matt Albrecht and team).
More on this as soon as I know and thanks to David D again for moving things forward and providing this platform for efficient and timely communication.
If some of your are interested in this internship and can't wait, send me your resume and a short cover letter and I will get it in the right person's hands at DOE and that may accelerate the process.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

DOE: Department of ..... Entrepreneurship??

DOE Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Alexander Karsner (who spoke at MIT earlier this semester), announced the creation of a new DOE "Entrepreneur-in-Residence" program this week, in which three entrepreneurs/VC's will be in residence at DOE Labs for the term of one-year to find and build companies around DOE technologies that are ready for start up prime time. The DOE will committ up to $300K to the program in its first year.

One more example of the new consensus that new venture creation will be at the core of solving our energy problems in our new energy era where climate and oil depletion/security have come to center stage. I credit Vinod Khosla's evangelism for getting this ball rolling. Even Nobel Laureate and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Director Steven Chu has been quoted as saying that scientists are realizing that publishing papers is not enough, a blasphemous thought to most scientists in the past.

This is one of a series of very interesting and exciting DOE initiatives designed to unlock the commercial potential of DOE's rich portfolio of energy research and researchers. For example, the DOE organized a Venture Capital Technology Showcase in Washington, DC to attended by a number of local energy investors and entrepreneurs.

And I have it on good authority that there are some other very exciting DOE energy entrepreneurship iniatives coming around the corner.... Stay tuned here for some interesting announcements in the near future! :)

Aulet on "What's Wrong w/ Energy Investing" - Not Enough Energy Entrepreneurs

Bill Aulet, Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the MIT Entrepreneurship Center published the 2nd of a couple of very interested blog posts on "What's Wrong with Energy Investing" recently.

A very nice article and great comments by MIT Energy Club members including: MIT alum and former MIT Energy Conference Managing Director Brian Walsh, who is now doing energy VC at Nth Power in San Francisco; MIT alum Bilal Zuberi, currently with GeO2 Technologies; Jay Fiske, Principal at the MA Green Energy Fund; and the beloved Energy Club co-president James Schwartz.

Bill's main point is that it takes a very unique and special entrepreneurial skill set to be a successful energy entrepreneur and that the limiting reagent in the current roiling broth of energy innovation and deployment is the supply of good energy entrepreneurs.

Hopefully the new MIT Energy Prize, in which the MIT $100K Competition and MIT Enterprise Forum Ignite Clean Energy Business Presentation Competition are joining forces, will help alleviate this....

Anyone interested in injecting more energy entrepreneurship events/content/resources into the MIT Energy Club should get in touch with Club Entrepreneurship Chair Curt Fischer, MIT PhD student and co-founder of C3 Bioenergy, an MIT energy startup..... (curt(att)mit(dott)edu.)

Friday, September 28, 2007

$900M in cleantech investment from U.S. VC firms in first half of 2007, New England companies snag 7%...

(Bob Buderi, co-founder of and former Editor of Technology Review Magazine, had a nice post on U.S. cleantech investment here.)

U.S. VC Cleantech Investment for First Half 2007:
  • $892.6M in 71 deals/5.4% of all VC investment

For reference, this is up 70% from $525M/46 deals for First Half 2006 and only 1.4% of U.S. VC investment was in cleantech in 2001.

Four N.E. companies snagged 7% of this First Half 2007 funding:

  • A123 Systems - new battery company from tech out of MIT Prof. Yet-Ming Chiang's Lab raised another $40M, bringing it to over $100M in total funding. Very exciting developments with GM's plug-in hybrid plans.
  • Advanced Electron Beams - electron beam tech for clean, efficient industrial energy raised $17.5M. Congrats to CEO, good friend, and NEEIC co-founder Mitch Tyson.
  • Ze-gen - waste to syngas waste gasification company raised a $4.5M first round of financing.
  • Greentech Media - a cleantech market reserach/news website raised $1M. This has become my own go to clean tech news site.
  • SolarOne Solution - a maker of solar powered lighting systems - raised money as well. I had not heard of these guys before reading Bob's post.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Massachusetts has 2nd highest number of startups in Greentechmedia "GTM:10" Top 10 Cleantech Startups...

Greentechmedia (GTM), an up and coming clean technology media company itself and interestingly based out of Cambridge, MA (Xconomy post on Greentechmedia), recently came out with its "GTM:10" list of the top ten startups in "greentech". Fun stuff......

The first thing I did when I found this was figure out where the companies were from. The tabulation: Bay Area - 5, Massachusetts - 2 (including #1), Arizona - 1, Pennsylvania - 1, all of Israel - 1.

I'm glad to see MA starting to come into its own on these popular "cleantech/greentech" innovation lists, as I was very disappointed when I read the much talked about cleantech book The Clean Tech Revolution recently and found MA no where to be found in Chapter 9 on cleantech cluster building entitled "Create Your Own Silicon Valley". (See my prediction that we would start getting on these lists here.) :)

The Companies:

Lightning quick overview:

1.) A123 Systems - Watertown, MA-based Li-ion battery startup out of MIT Materials Prof. Yet-Ming Chiang's lab. Hitting the PHEV market working with GM.

2.) Tesla Motors - Bay Area-based electric car startup. Hitting the rich guy electric car market.

3.) Mascoma - Cambridge, MA-based (although tech came from Prof. Lee Lynd out of Darmouth College in NH) cellulosic ethanol startup. Hitting the ethanol market (or the cellulosic ethanol market if/when it develops)

4.) Solaicx - Bay Area-based silicon company. Hitting silicon market supplying to solar.

5.) Serious Materials - Bay Area-based startup that has a way of making dry wall at 10% of energy (CO2) cost of competitors. Don't laugh. Drywall production accounts for 1% of U.S. energy use according to Greentechmedia.

6.) Bloom Energy - Bay Area-based solid oxide fuel cell company.

7.) Fat Spaniel - Bay Area-based energy management/monitoring company. I'll leave a good description to someone who will comment below and do a better job than I can.

8.) Southwest Wind - Arizona-based small scale wind company. Greentechmedia says they're 20 years old, but was fired up on the fact that the company has shifted focus to the consumer market. I wonder why Bergey WindPower, a small scale wind power company c0-founded in 1970 by MIT Aero Engineering MS '51 alum and Energy Club member Karl Bergey didn't get on the list instead...

9.) Plextronics - Pennsylvania-based organic printed electronics company. Hitting the 3G solar market and OLEDS.

10.) Atlantium - Israel-based UV water treatment company. Hitting the water disinfection market.

Looking forward to seeing MA beat the Bay Area next year on this list and others. All the ingredients are right here..... :)