Smart window startup View is raising another $75M

A year after raising a $100 million financing round, smart window startup View (formerly called Soladigm) is raising another $75 million round, and has closed on about $29 million of the round, according to a filing with the SEC. View makes dynamic windows, also called “electrochromic windows,” which use low-voltage electrical current to reflect or absorb light, tinting or untinting the window on demand.

If it closes the round, View will have raised more than $375 million over its eight year lifetime from investors including private equity firm Madrone Capital Partners (associated with the Walton family, the heirs to the Walmart fortune), Khosla Ventures, GE, Corning, DBL Investors, and the Westly Group. Making glass, and the IT needed to tint the glass, is an expensive proposition, but View can lower its production costs as it scales up manufacturing.

View windows

View spent 2014 working on growing production at its factory in Mississippi, as well as sales, distribution and marketing. At the beginning of 2014, View was shipping glass that was 50 square feet in size, and the company had installed about 50 projects across North America including a 27,000 square foot project at a hospital in Toronto, and a 37,000 square foot project at a tech center in Louisiana.

View's windows

View’s windows of course are more expensive to buy than regular windows or cheap shading options like blinds. But View’s customers (premium hotels, corporate offices, etc.) are buying them both to be early adopters of cool tech, but also to reduce energy use and energy costs associated with air conditioning and heating. The coloring effect of View’s window can cool or warm a room, and can cut 20 percent off the costs of heating and cooling, 20 percent off of lighting, and can reduce peak load (electricity at peak times of use) by 25 percent.

View’s window manufacturing process is similar to one that’s used in the semiconductor industry, but using large glass pieces. The windows are made by depositing a 1 micrometer thick layer of tungsten oxide onto a pane of glass, and then that layer is sandwiched by another pane of glass. The original core technology came out of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. View also makes the controller system, and the software and apps that can control the window tint from an iPhone.

Two of the key early investors in Tesla have a new fund

Two early backers of electric car company Tesla — Nancy Pfund and Ira Ehrenpreis — are teaming up to invest a new fund, for which they’ve been in the process of raising $300 million, according to a SEC filing as well as sources we’ve spoken with. Dan Primack first reported the filing in his newsletter last Thursday.

Pfund joined JPMorgan in the mid-1980s, and later founded DBL Investors, which was a spin-out of JPMorgan’s Bay Area Equity Fund I. DBL stands for “double bottom line,” and the firm has been one of the very few over the past few years that has been really successful when it comes to investing in cleantech companies.

Investor Nancy Pfund getting into her Model S at the Tesla factory on the day of the launch of the Model S.

Investor Nancy Pfund getting into her Model S at the Tesla factory on the day of the launch of the Model S. Image courtesy of Gigaom/Katie Fehrenbacher

The fund invested in Tesla (back in 2006), solar installer SolarCity, and online music company Pandora (which all went public) as well as energy data company eMeter, which was bought by Siemens, and solar installer PowerLight, which was bought by solar giant SunPower. DBL has also backed quickly growing companies solar thermal startup BrightSource and space travel company SpaceX.

Back in 2012, I called Pfund “the most successful (and positive) greentech VC you haven’t heard of.” According to an article in the New York Times a couple months ago, five of the 18 companies in her first fund went public. DBL raised a second fund of $150 million in 2010 and that fund is almost fully invested now with around 23 companies.

This fund that Pfund and Ehrenpreis are raising now will be DBL’s third fund, and it’s called DBL Partners III, according to the filing. I’ve heard that the duo has also been considering raising up to $400 million.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, unveils the dual engine chassis of the new Tesla 'D' model at the Hawthorne Airport October 09, 2014 in Hawthorne, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, unveils the dual engine chassis of the new Tesla ‘D’ model at the Hawthorne Airport October 09, 2014 in Hawthorne, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Ehrenpreis has been a General Partner with Technology Partners and has headed up their cleantech practice. He led Technology Partner’s investment in Tesla back in 2006 (Technology Partners was the lead investor in Tesla’s third round along with Tesla CEO Elon Musk) and Ehrenpreis also runs the World Energy Innovation Forum, which was held at the Tesla factory earlier this year.

I’ve also heard that Technology Partner’s General Partner Marc van den Berg, who joined Technology Partners in 2012 from VantagePoint Venture Partners, will be joining DBL Investors, too.

One of the biggest things that Pfund and Ehrenpreis have in common in their history, of course, is backing Elon Musk. Obviously through their investments in Tesla, but for Pfund, this also includes for her investments in SolarCity and SpaceX. Given that connection, I wouldn’t be surprised if a limited partner in their new fund was Musk himself, but since I don’t know the details of their fund raising, that’s just speculation.

Pfund and Ehrenpreis declined to comment for this article.

SolarCity sets terms for an up to $151 million IPO

Solar installer and financier SolarCity has set the terms for its planned IPO, and plans to sell 10.1 million shares at between $13 and $15 per share. At the midpoint the company would raise $141 million.

BrightSource actually raising $130M for solar thermal

Solar thermal company BrightSource is actually looking to raise $130 million, which is another $50 million over the amount it announced last month. The company makes solar thermal power plants which use mirrors and a boiler to produce electricity.

Green jobs are growing the fastest in red and swing states

According to a new report out on Monday, traditionally Republican and Swing states are showing the most growth in green jobs. That’s pretty surprising if you’ve been listening to all the Solyndra and anti-green job rhetoric of the election cycles.

The latest venture play: composting

It all started with a breakfast buffet and some leftover French toast. That was when Dan Blake, the CEO of composting soil startup EcoScraps, says he realized he wanted to make a business off of collecting food waste and turning it into something useful.

Soladigm raises $55M for smart windows

Soladigm, a startup that makes windows that can be tinted on demand, has raised another $55 million, bringing the company’s total funding to $125 million.

Tesla’s Model S electric car is finally here

Tesla Motors investor, and DBL Investor’s Partner, Nancy Pfund has been waiting about three years to get her Model S electric sedan. Pfund is one of a group of customers that will receive their Model S cars during a big media event at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. on Friday.