Posted by British Gas in Renewable Energy
Through the 1990s and 2000s, internet start-ups, then Web 2.0 businesses were the hot topic amongst venture firms and investors. Of course savvy investors are always on the lookout for the next important industry or trend and there’s reason to believe that next big thing is none other than renewable energy and green tech companies and products. This has been backed up by a spate of high profile investments in UK and international renewable energy companies.
Here are five examples of green businesses that have received funding recently – paving the way for future investments and making renewable energy the next Web 2.0 in the venture funding and investment world.
1. Enecsys (£25 million raised in May, 2011)
This Cambridge-based start-up raised £25 million from Climate Change Capital Private Equity in May, the largest amount raised by any British clean tech company up to that point in 2011. It’s easy to see why they’re of interest – their innovative products help improve the efficiency (by up to 20%!) of solar panelling by improving the way energy from the panels is fed into the national energy grid. Now that should brighten up you day!
2. Cobalt Technologies ($20 million in May, 2011)
Their manufacturing plants may smell like a chip shop, but this California, USA-based start-up is turning plant matter like sugar cane and potatoes into petrol and other fuels. As an added bonus, their fuels are less of a pollutant than traditional petrol They raised $20 million from The Whittemore Collection Ltd. in May – now that’s not small potatoes.
3. HaloIPT (In discussions to raise £20 million over the next two years)
Wireless technology is in everything from computer mice to microwaves so why not renewable energy and clean tech? HaloIPT, a London-based company with backing from Antipodean clean tech investing group TTCF, has answered that question with aplomb, holding the patent for wireless charging technology for electric cars. They’re even in talks with TFL to power four of the city’s electric vehicles (source: “Charging the electric car revolution,” Physicsworld, June 2011). Vroom!
4. VPhase (£2 million in Dec, 2010)
Plug something in to save money on your energy bill? While it doesn’t sound possible, Cheshire start-up VPhase is helping businesses and homes do just that. With £2 million from London investors going towards research, product and promotion, you may have even seen an advert for VPhase on TV – showing off their innovative gadgets that reduce the total energy usage of a building without impacting any of the appliances.
5. Luca Technologies ($125 million in June 2011)
If lack of great green energy sources has been bugging you, look no further than Luca Technologies, which is developing ways to generate energy from microorganisms. Located in Colorado, USA, this company is using tiny microbes to turn unusable natural energy materials (like coal and oil) into usable, clean, renewable energy. Their $125 million was raised through an initial public offering (IPO), a sign that not just venture firms and investors want in on this company’s success, but that the public are willing to pay to own shares in the business as well.
Investors, engineers, young business minds and entrepreneurs are looking at how they can get involved in tackling the challenges that surround finding a long term renewable energy source. This exciting field is set to become the new Web 2.0 in the eyes of business leaders and investors, and in the public who will get to see the fruits of these innovative companies’ labours.
What do you think? Will this trend continue, making renewable energy and green tech the next Web 2.0? Or will funding dry up with the economy and challenges that face the industry?
This guest blog was written by Meaghan Fitzgerald of www.techettes.com/