Today in Cleantech

As companies prepare for a cleantech IPO boomlet this year, Landis+Gyr likely won’t be among them. The Swiss smart meter maker is planning to public, but not before the next two to three years. Why the wait? “The aim is an IPO, but we want to be sure,” says CEO Andreas Umbach. Sure that market conditions support a desirable valuation or sure that it can emerge from a smart grid shakeout unscathed? Both, it sounds like…

Did We Really Learn Anything From the Dotcom Crash?

Ten years ago, the dotcom crash changed the Internet business forever. There’s more emphasis today on making sure that the fundamentals of an Internet business are stronger. Most startups are obsessed with monetization, even if they don’t like to admit it. While nobody would argue that basing a business on fiscal reality is a bad thing, this newfound conservative approach has also had negative effects.

Today in Cleantech

A new post today at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech blog has an interesting take on Bloom Energy and its headline-grabbing unveiling this week. The title, “Bloom box debut: More IPO than CO2,” pretty much says it all. After soaking up $400 million in venture capital, is the firm feeling the pressure to go public while cleantech is still hot?

Why the Value of Solar Installers Is Rising: Report

As solar panel prices fall, installers’ valuations appear to be climbing. A report from NeXt Up Research that was released Monday on SharesPost, an online marketplace for trading shares of private companies, estimates that solar developer SolarCity‘s exit valuation would be between $375 million and $443.8 million, or $15.49 to $18.36 a share. That’s up from a per-share estimate of $12.43 to $13.90 back in July.

Solar panel prices, which have fallen by more than half from their peak last year, are helping to drive demand for solar power systems, and as such should help boost SolarCity’s revenue, according to the report, written by NextUp research analyst Suresh Balaraman and downloadable for free here. Since panel prices make up more than a third of SolarCity’s cost of goods sold, the lower cost should also help lift SolarCity’s profit, he wrote.
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Dell’s Android MID — Everything but a Phone, Which Might be Good

I’d say Dell just beat the pants off of my homebrewed Android UMPC. The Dell Streak and its lovely 5-inch multitouch display just made an appearance over at SlashGear and it looks sweet from a form factor perspective. The video demo gets a bit choppy at times, so I can’t be sure if the device has a little lag or if it’s an issue with the video. Regardless, it’s likely that the device on camera isn’t a final version, so there could be optimizations to come.

The 800 x 480 resolution is just about the right size for this screen — perhaps it could stand to be a wee bit higher, but it’s pretty, nonetheless. Streak runs on Android 2.0 and while it offers no cellular voice capabilities, it does provide for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G connectivity. Perhaps you could get by on a cheap feature phone or pre-paid voice plan and tote this around instead of smartphone? I’d be tempted to try. There’s also a 5-megapixel camera on the back, front-facing camera and an input jack for a dock on the bottom.

Dwindling Tech IPOs Could Spell Bad News for Cleantech Exits

Industry watchers have been predicting – and companies have been eagerly awaiting – the return of tech IPOs for months. A123Systems’ successful IPO last week set off a new flurry of those forecasts, with many seeing it as a sign of more offerings to come, and a new break through for cleantech IPOs. But at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum West on Wednesday, Pascal Levensohn, founder of Levensohn Venture Partners and a National Venture Capitalist Association board member, called those predictions “wishful thinking.”

While he’s glad to see a few IPOs emerging, they amount to “drops of water in the desert” and are “not relevant to the majority of companies out there,” he said. “I disagree with predictions that U.S. IPOs are about to come back in a meaningful manner. Underwriters are only willing to accommodate a small number of companies.”
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A123 Bringing Sexy Back to Cleantech IPOs?

a123_battery_07After the Nasdaq opening bell rings Thursday morning, keep an eye out on the ticker for the symbol “AONE,” which represents Watertown, Mass-based battery startup A123Systems. The company is expected to set its price on Wednesday and trade Thursday and represents the first spot of relief after a long dry spell for cleantech IPOs.
If it goes well, the debut could symbolize renewed investor appetite for IPOs and public confidence in electric cars and establish energy storage as sexy technology, once and for all. A123 certainly seems confident. The company raised its estimated price range to between $10 and $11.50 per share Tuesday, up from a previous range of $8.50 to $9.50 per share, for an offering worth up to $339.62 million, including shares set aside for underwriters in case of over-allotments.
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IPO Comeback Starting Now, Cleantech Investors Say

Cleantech investor Steve Westly, managing partner of The Westly Group and former California state controller, is at it again. In a keynote speech at the Thomson Reuters “Financing the Cleantech Vision” conference in Palo Alto, Calif., on Thursday, Westly said that after a major dry period, initial public offerings in the cleantech space are on their way back. Westly offered us his top cleantech IPO predictions for the first quarter of 2010 — Silver Spring, Solyndra and Tesla (in which Westly has invested) — last month. And now it appears he’s not alone in forecasting an IPO revival.

“I think in the next 12 months, we will see a dozen IPOs, and some will be blockbusters,” he said. Westly pointed to Magma Energy, a Canadian geothermal company that filed a prospectus earlier this month and now says the offering could top C$100 million ($86 million), double some previous estimates. He also said he expects another company in his portfolio –- one he wouldn’t name or give any details about (but that we speculate might be Tesla) -– to go public in that time frame.
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The Solid-State Future

Hard disk on fireEvery so often a new technology emerges that changes everything. In the world of storage, the last major media shift was the move to hard disk drives (HDDs) from tape. While tape is still around today as a target for backups and archiving (it’s cheap, durable, and portable for offsite storage), disk owns the vast majority of primary storage.

Today we find ourselves on the cusp of a transition in storage as massive as the move from tape to hard disk drives — the move from hard disks to solid-state disks. Read More about The Solid-State Future