NEA on energy tech: We’re in it for the long haul

While some venture capitalists are moving away from funding cleantech startups, NEA — one of the oldest and most established VC firms out there — plans to stay in energy tech investing for the long haul and will continue to invest in new energy innovators.

Thanks, Groupon: NEA closes monster $2.6B fund

Proving that the venture model is working for at least a few select brand name venture capitalists, NEA announced on Wednesday that it’s closed a massive $2.6 billion new fund. The firm describes the fund as “one of the largest venture funds ever raised.”

Report: Konarka’s failure wasn’t a solar market problem

Solar startup Konarka’s bankruptcy, announced last week, wasn’t just the latest case of the solar industry being hit by the dropping cost of silicon, and cheap modules and panels from China. The company’s technology just “could not compete on cost, efficiency, or lifetime,” says Lux Research.

Organic solar thin film maker Konarka files for bankruptcy

Konarka Technologies, a maker of organic solar thin films, said Friday it’s going bankrupt, an announcement that may not be so surprising to many who have watched and waited for the venture-backed company to try to build a viable business.

Konarka: still trying for elusive solar building market

Konarka Technologies wants to see its solar material lining building’s windows everywhere, but finding customers in that market appears as difficult as convincing the Koch brothers that climate change is real.

Silver Lake Kraftwerk’s Cleantech Dream Team Keeps Growin’

If there is a cleantech investing renaissance coming, I’d bet on the growing team at Silver Lake Kraftwerk to find it. According to Dan Primack at Fortune, Silver Lake has recruited former Draper Fisher Jurvetson cleantech VC Raj Atluru to join its new cleantech fund.

Konarka Raises $23.8M, Inches Toward Commercialization

Over the past nine years, solar plastic maker Konarka has been creeping toward commercialization, raising close to $200 million in private equity and government grants. When will it teeter over that brink of pilot production and move into full-scale commercialization? Well, for now some more funding: According to SEC documents, this week Konarka raised yet another round of $23.8 million from investors including Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Good Energies and 3i.

By my rough calculations, the company has raised close to $175 million in private equity and $20 million in government grants. That puts it close to the $200 million mark, which only a few greentech companies have achieved, including smart grid network maker Silver Spring Networks and thin film solar firm Solyndra.
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German Organic Solar PV Developer Heliatek Grabs $27M

The solar PV industry is currently dominated by silicon-based cell technology, but modules made of organic solar cells are seen as one of the most promising emerging technologies that could eventually become a serious competitor. That’s the hope of Heliatek, a German startup developing solar cells using organic dyes that are chemically synthesized from hydrocarbons. The company, formed in 2006 as a spin-off from the Universities of Dresden and Ulm, announced late last week that is has raised a $27 million second round of financing led by the pan-European venture firm Wellington Partners.

Heliatek will use the funding to build an initial production facility in Dresden for its organic solar cells. The startup, which uses vacuum technology to deposit the conductive material on film substrate, says its technology will lead to efficient, flexible and extremely lightweight PV modules — as much as 40 times less than today’s conventional technology. That’s why Heliatek is starting off targeting mobile applications, such as handbags that can power cell phones, though the company didn’t say when its production facility or its first commercial products would be ready. The company also believes it can find a market in “architectural solutions” (presumably building applications where weight is an important factor) and in regions with “weak infrastructures.”
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