Honest Buildings raises first venture round for green building data

A startup that aggregates data about energy use and green characteristics of buildings, Honest Buildings, has raised its first venture round. Using information technology to address resource constraints is one of the few areas of cleantech that VCs still seem willing to invest in.

Nanosolar raises $70M for thin film solar

Thin film solar company Nanosolar announced on Friday that it has raised $70 million, a round which includes the previously announced $20 million. Overall Nanosolar has taken in at least $450 million since its start in 2002.

Coupa scoops up $22M to help companies cut costs

E-procurement player Coupa Software netted $22 million in a Series E funding round led by new investor Crosslink Capital. Companies use Coupa’s cloud-based services to track supplier contracts and requisitions.

Another changing of the guard for solar startup Nanosolar

Nanosolar, which has struggled for years to fulfill its promise as the next major thin-film solar manufacturer, announced Thursday it has a new CEO. Eugenia Corrales, who has been the startup’s head of engineering and operations, is taking over the chief executive post effective immediately.

Cleantech’s Real Dirty Secret: It’s Not Computing

The partners at venture firm Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV) say there’s a dirty little secret in the current cleantech investing climate: Much of the sector has been based on modernizing outdated industrial technologies and we’re missing out on a new transformational industry. In an article in Forbes this week MDV partners Josh Green and Will Coleman say that to create that type of transformational new cleantech sector, like the U.S. successfully did with computing, the U.S. government needs to step in and start funding basic and early-stage research.

I agree that what Green and Coleman call a dirty secret is a problem. For example, updating the power grid with information technology (creating the smart grid) is basically about getting utilities up to speed with modern digital technologies, which should have happened years ago. There’s no revolution there, it just makes sense for utilities’ businesses, for consumers’ needs, and for fighting climate change. Smart grid technologies will create a lot of revenues for the existing players, including large IT companies like Cisco (s CSCO) and IBM (s IBM), and some newer firms like eMeter and Silver Spring Networks. But the VCs are right — this isn’t a sector that the U.S. can use as a way to revitalize the American economy and maintain our lead in the global economy.
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Apple’s Official iPhone 3G Unlock

While most iPhone users are aware of unofficial unlock methods, you may be surprised to discover that it’s possible to legally unlock your device, courtesy of Apple (s aapl).

The above image is the not-often-seen official unlock notification, as displayed in iTunes. The dialogue succinctly confirms that the user’s iPhone, in this case a 3G, has been unlocked and can now be used on any carrier. Note the Apple logo at the top left — this is a result of an official unlock sanctioned by Apple.
Read on to find out how I legally unlocked my iPhone 3G.
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