Rumor Roundup: Tomorrow’s Apple Event

What’s in store for tomorrow’s Apple event? It’s possible only Steve Jobs and whoever does his Keynote presentations know for sure, but that’s not gonna stop us from making our bests guess. So get out those rumor checklists and see how yours matches up.

Teamly: Collaboration With Priorities

Most collaboration tools focus on assigning tasks to the people on your team who will get them done. Teamly takes a different approach, encouraging your team to look for the priorities in your project and exercise a little autonomy.

FreelanceCamp PRO Coming to San Francisco

FreelanceCamp PRO, a BarCamp-style “unconference” for freelancers, will be hosting its next event on June 5 in San Francisco. In true BarCamp style, the actual schedule will be determined by attendees on the day of the event, but the suggested list of topics is interesting.

Analyst Estimate: 150,000 iPads Pre-Ordered Already

While the number isn’t official (Apple (s aapl) isn’t exactly free and easy with its sales figures), one analyst is saying that although its early yet to tell, it looks like the iPad is on track to break some pretty significant records in terms of order volume. Amateur Apple (s aapl) analyst Daniel Tello, who regularly outguesses the pros, is now saying that around 152,000 iPads have been pre-ordered in the first 72 hours of availability.

Tello’s approach involves extrapolating Apple web order numbers. This time around, he worked with Victor Castroll, a Valcent Financial Group analyst. Together, they surveyed a sample group and found 120 orders for 137 iPads over 58 hours beginning at 8:30 A.M. Friday morning.

From there, Tello applied a formula that subtracts non-iPad orders on Apple’s site and multiplies the resulting number by an average of 1.125 iPads per order. Finally, he added in 2,000 units for late-night hours during which time they had no data. In the end, the total arrived at was 152,000 ending at midnight on Sunday. The number doesn’t factor in iPads reserved for in-store pickup. Read More about Analyst Estimate: 150,000 iPads Pre-Ordered Already

From Recession to Recovery: Cleantech Companies Navigating Shifting Economy

After spending the better part of the last two years scrambling to survive the recession, the discussion has shifted for cleantech firms and companies are now trying to figure out the best way to manage the recovery. Investors expect the greentech industry to come out ahead and lead the economic rebound this year, according to a survey released last week by accounting firm KPMG. The survey found that 77 percent of respondents believe venture investments in green technology will increase this year after declining last year, while only 67 percent expect overall venture capital investment to grow.
Experts are anticipating a crop of cleantech IPOs this year, as well, while some, such as venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, are concerned that some greentech IPOs this year may disappoint investors and sour the market for other green IPOs. Stimulus programs, such as the new round of ARPA-E funding announced last week, also are shifting the financing landscape, leading to new tactics as companies try to leverage government funding to advance over competitors.
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CMEA’s Maurice Gunderson Talks Tactics

As the stimulus and the recession both leave marks on the cleantech industry, cleantech investors, along with entrepreneurs, are adjusting to a new landscape. And CMEA Capital is one venture capital firm that seems to be navigating it successfully, so far. The company backed A123Systems, the lithium-ion battery manufacturer whose much-celebrated initial public offering surpassed expectations in the midst of an IPO drought in September, as well as Solyndra, the thin-film solar startup that received the first renewable-energy manufacturing loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy.
We recently sat down with Maurice Gunderson, senior partner at CMEA, who previously co-founded venture-capital firm Nth Power, to discuss his thoughts on the future of the greentech industry, and the how CMEA – and its portfolio companies – are prepared to thrive in the new economy. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:
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After ARPA-E, Sun Catalytix Seeks New Funding

The ARPA-E summit this week was flush with startups looking for government grants and VC dollars — and some looking for both. Energy-storage startup Sun Catalytix, which just won $4 million from ARPA-E in January, now plans to seek a new round of venture capital, Sun Catalytix director (and Ethernet inventor) Bob Metcalfe told us in an interview. The Cambridge, Mass.-based startup already has raised $3 million in seed funding and hasn’t yet determined the amount of its Series A round, but Metcalfe said it would be in the “single digit millions” as the ARPA-E contract is helping it keep its capital needs down.
The idea behind the technology, developed by Dan Nocera at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is to use an intermittent source of energy, such as solar power, to split water into hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis. When the energy is needed, the hydrogen and oxygen can either be recombined to produce electricity, such as with a fuel cell, or the hydrogen can potentially be converted into a liquid fuel, like ammonia, and used to power vehicles.
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EVO Electric: Electric Car Motor Maker Links with Lotus

EVO Electric, a U.K.-based startup developing a more efficient electric motor for hybrid and electric cars, will be getting a whole lotta attention in Geneva on Tuesday due to a major new partnership. The 3-year-old company has scored a deal with Lotus Engineering, and EVO’s motors are being featured in a plug-in hybrid concept sports car — the Evora hybrid — expected to be unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show on Tuesday.

The Evora hybrid is expected to look like this regular Evora sports car, which came out in September.


The Evora 414E Hybrid concept car is a plug-in hybrid version of Lotus’ currently available Evora (pictured above), which represented Lotus’ first new vehicle since 1995 when itstarted rolling out in Europe in September. The hybrid concept includes two EVOdrive motors, each providing 204 horsepower and 295 pounds of torque per foot, as well as EVO’s electric generator technology to help run a 35kW range extender system.
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SolFocus Founder Turns Up the Heat with New Solar Startup b2u Solar

Gary Conley, the entrepreneur who founded concentrating solar company SolFocus, is at it again. Last month he launched b2u Solar, a startup which uses the sun’s heat for industrial applications like drying, curing and commercial baking, and is one of a crop of startups working to take advantage of the higher efficiency potential of heat compared to electricity.
At the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco last week, Conley claimed b2u’s technology can deliver the equivalent of 40 to 60 cents per watt – and 2.5 to 4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour – by generating heat directly, instead of producing energy that is then used to make heat. That makes it potentially competitive with natural gas today, and the economics look even better if the heat is also used for air conditioning, as well as heating, Conley said. (It may sound counterintuitive, but heat can be paired with a chiller to generate cool air).
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The Largest Cleantech VC: China

When private investment in cleantech fell last year, government stimulus programs more than made up the difference, according to estimates that the Cleantech Group released at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco this week. And no government is doing more to fill the gap than China’s. China has set aside a whopping $200.8 billion in stimulus funding for cleantech, 79 percent more than the $112.2 billion the U.S. stimulus funds have allocated to the industry, according to the latest Stern report released last year. (Estimates of U.S. green stimulus funding have varied broadly, with many ranging between $50 billion and $80 billion as of last year with $36.7 billion allocated to the Department of Energy.)

A chart that Sheeraz Haji, president of the Cleantech Group, presented Thursday shows that while worldwide private investment in cleantech fell below $150 billion in 2009, from just above $150 billion the previous year, global stimulus spending added an estimated $76 billion to the total pool of cleantech funding in 2009 and is expected to reach $182 billion this year (see chart, above). The chart is based on analysis from the Cleantech Group, as well as numbers from the World Economic Forum, the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook, Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance and HSBC.
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