IPCC Report Says “Unequivocal” – This is Truly Required Reading for All

In the required reading category for all humans, the 5th IPCC (Intergovenmental Panel on Climate Change) report, Climate Change 2013 – The Physical Science Basis, now uses the unambiguous term “unequivocal” when describing global warming. I don’t think there is a more robust “canary in the coal mine” warning for us to take action upon (forgive the tortured pun).

“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.”
Opportunities to reinvent our economic system to support the next phase of our existence in a sustainable fashion are exciting to anyone who loves innovation, value creation, economic growth, and well being. However, policy needs to level the playing field so we get there faster with less unnecessary friction.
The Summary is available now on the IPCC site –IPCC   The full report will be available on September 30, 2013.  All legislators should read this document to be informed when debating policy.

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One healthy bipartisan effort in Congress relates to enabling Master Limited Partnerships (MLP’s) to finance renewable energy projects. Long used in traditional energy, MLPs are a proven instrument and can help overcome the high upfront costs of renewable energy hardware and installation which produces a stream of low cost energy over its life. This is done by having a public market for investors to efficiently price and trade MLP interests.

Here’s a good article by Jordan Collins and Bryan Stockton explaining the progress in Congress toward enabling legislation to include renewable energy projects. While not a done deal, it is encouraging to see this important instrument be debated.



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Yahoo! to Acquire Tumblr for $1.1 billion in Cash

According to Reuters today, Yahoo! is acquiring Tumblr in a deal valued at $1.1 billion. CEO Marissa Mayer continues to drive to make Yahoo more relevant to a younger audience and is not afraid to use acquisitions. Interestingly, it’s an all cash deal, which means that Yahoo! is valuing its stock more than its cash at this point.


Also, if  Tumblr’s revenue is about $13M, then that’s about 85 times revenue, a princely sum indeed. Yahoo! has to believe the traffic and the social media hole plugging will be well worth it. These are the kinds of transactions that are the exception to the everyday M&A world but serve as an example of what a motivated buyer will do to reform or defend its business.

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Coulumb Get $47.5M to Grow EV Charging Station Business



According to Gigaom today, Coulomb closed a Series D financing of $47.5M bringing in heavyweight investors such as Kleiner Perkins and Toyota Tsusdo (Toyota’s trading corporation). The drive to build out electric vehicle charging infrastructure is important to give consumers confidence that they will be able to easily recharge their EV’ so they will buy them.  Our view is that while this infrastructure is being deployed, the auto industry will be releasing new plug-in EV’s (e.g., Fisker’s Karma is shipping now) to mitigate the sparse charging infrastructure and range anxiety issue in addition to more battery-only EV’s (e.g., Nissan Leaf is shipping now). We are at an important turning point in this market where we’ll see more consumer choices for EV’s. Choice will help drive adoption which will drive volume which will drive cost reduction which will drive broader adoption. It can’t happen soon enough for the auto industry to compete on the world stage.



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Angel Capital Association Supports Crowdfunding Legislation

The ACA voiced support for pending legislation in the House and Senate to make it easier for entrepreneurs to raise early stage capital. They put their position in a good context with angel financing which is the ACA’s focus as the national association of angel capital groups.  The ACA also mentioned the need for coordinated legislation with crowdfunding for angel capital (re: S. 256). See the ACA’s public statement below:

Public Statement on Crowdfunding Legislation
December 5, 2011
The Angel Capital Association (ACA) wishes to provide our support for the concept of crowdfunding, currently addressed in H.R.2930 and S.1791. ACA is the North American trade association of angel groups and private investors that invest in high growth, early‐stage ventures. ACA membership includes more than 160 angel groups and 20 affiliate organizations across North America. ACA member angel groups represent more than 7,000 accredited investors. Our focus is on professional development for accredited investors active in supporting some of the nation’s highest growth startups.
ACA’s leadership has reviewed the legislation and supports the general concept of crowdfunding because it is important support growth in current economic times and ensure laws and regulations that are in step with modern social networking. The legislation has greatly improved since it was first introduced, reducing initial concerns about fraud and interference with sophisticated angel investing.

ACA’s Board adopted the following statement on December 2nd:

  •  Crowdfunding legislation is needed. Given the fall in net worth from decreased home values, entrepreneurs are much less able to self‐finance the earliest development of their companies. Likewise, obtaining financing from friends and family has become more difficult.
  • “Friends and Family” financing is often critical in getting startup companies off the ground. Crowdfunding helps fill this “Friends and Family” gap. If crowdfunding helps get more companies started, that is a good thing and a welcome change.
  • Angel groups (and individual angels) are the next stage of financing and it is important to ensure that entrepreneurs have access to robust angel capital. These types of accredited investors are also important to entrepreneurs for their mentoring and advice, as well as to structuring investments for better opportunities for long‐term growth.
  •  We strongly support the efforts of Sen. Mark Pryor and Sen. Scott Brown to enact an Angel Tax Credit (S.256) that will complement the crowdfunding legislation so that the most promising companies can grow beyond the crowdfunding stage. This is good and sensible policy.
  • We remain concerned about the potential for fraud in this kind of financing and believe it is important to protect unaccredited investors from unscrupulous issuers. It will be important to have a mechanism for due diligence on the investment opportunities, as it is clear that due diligence is important to mitigating investment risk. Academic studies of angel investing found that 52 percent of all the investment deals went out of business. Crowdfunding is likely to have even more associated risk.

Angel groups and serious angel investors are important to high growth entrepreneurial ventures to Congress and the startup community. Crowdfunding may help many small startups, but active accredited angels are needed to get to the kind of growth that Washington intends.
Dan Rosen, Chair of Public Policy, ACA
Marianne Hudson, Executive Director, ACA
Angel Capital Association www.angelcapitalassociation.org 913‐894‐4700

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2011 Cleantech Open Global Forum Awards Results

Cleantech Open Announces Winners of
2011 National Business Competition
and Global Ideas Competition


The Grand Prize of $250,000 goes to Atmosphere Recovery, which makes laser-based gas analyzer systems for efficient manufacturing and advanced energy process control. Runners up in the National Business Competition are Indow Windows and PK Clean. Energy Hub and Power Assure win 2011 Alumni Awards, with Indow Windows also winning the 2011 National Sustainability Award. Biofiltro of Chile wins the Cleantech Open 2011 Global Ideas Competition.


REDWOOD CITY, Calif., November 17, 2011 — The Cleantech Open is pleased to publish the complete list of winners that were announced at the Cleantech Open 2011 Global Forum last night. The “Academy Awards of Clean Technology” marked the grand finale of the Cleantech Open’s yearlong National Business Competition, as well as the culmination of the Cleantech Open Global Ideas Competition.  1,000 enthusiasts and experts, including contestants, alumni teams from previous years, mentors, venture capitalists, and sponsors attended the two-day festival of cleantech innovation and entrepreneurship.


2011 was another year of tremendous growth for the Cleantech Open, which now operates in six regions across the United States. Since the inception of the Cleantech Open six years ago, 593 companies have completed the non-profit organization’s entrepreneurship programs in the United States alone. Collectively, these companies have so far raised more than $500 million in funding.


“Congratulations to the 2011 winners and finalists, which represent the best in early-stage cleantech innovation and viable solutions to some of the world’s toughest challenges,” said Rex Northen, executive director of the Cleantech Open. “I would also like to express my sincere thanks to our sponsors, who make the Cleantech Open possible, as well as the tireless volunteers around the world who power the world’s largest cleantech accelerator.”


“Partnering with the Cleantech Open allows Chevron to identify and foster emerging technologies that improve the way the world produces and uses energy,” said Jim Davis, president of Chevron Energy Solutions. “As we mentor and support entrepreneurs, we can also develop new, valuable solutions for our customers.”


Note to editors: the Global Forum program guide provides descriptions of each team and can be downloaded here.


2011 National Grand Prize Winner

The National Grand Prize winner, which was selected from the five category winners of the prestigious Cleantech Open Business Competition, was awarded to Atmosphere Recovery, the winner of the Renewable Energy category, which makes unique, laser-based gas analyzer systems for efficient manufacturing and advanced energy process control. Two runners-up were also announced: Indow Windows and PK Clean.


The other four finalists, each of which was judged the winner of its respective category, were:

  • Air-Water-Waste — PK Clean, which converts the most painful form of waste into the most useful type of energy through a catalytic depolymerization process.
  • Energy Efficiency — Indow Windows, which manufactures thermal window inserts that press into place on the inside of a window frame to deliver double-pane window performance at a fraction of the price.
  • Green Building — Whole Trees Structures, which manufactures structural building systems made from round timber, the waste product of sustainably managed forests.
  • Smart Power — GridMobility, whose Color of the Electron™ signal technology enables business, industry, and consumers to choose electricity sources based on their personal preferences.


2011 Alumni Award winner

Each year, the 2011 Alumni Award recognizes Cleantech Open alumni companies that achieved significant momentum during the year. To determine the winners, several factors are assessed, including capital investment raised, jobs created, and technical achievement. This year, the Alumni Award was awarded to two companies: Energy Hub, which raised $14.5M in Series B financing in 2011 and has created 30 jobs; and Power Assure, which this year raised $13.5M in Series B financing and has created 43 jobs.


2011 National Sustainability Award winner

The sustainability of the technologies and ideas of the teams that enter the Cleantech Open is given additional scrutiny by the mentors and judges, and each team receives specific mentoring to ensure this critical attribute is baked into each team’s business plan and investor pitch. This year’s National Sustainability Award goes to Indow Windows for its excellent alignment of business goals with an overall sustainability strategy. Two runner-ups were also named: Dragonfly Solutions and Sanergy.


2011 Cleantech Open Regional Winners

An overall winner for each region was also named, based on an aggregation of points awarded to the regional finalist teams throughout the judging process. Regional winners receive $10,000 in cash and services, which is in addition to the $20,000 in cash and services they were earlier awarded as regional finalists. The 2011 Cleantech Open regional winners are:


2011 Global Cleantech Open Ideas winner

For the second year, cleantech innovations from around the world were featured at the Cleantech Open. The Global Cleantech Open Ideas Competition looks to find ‘big ideas’ by working at a grassroots level and to support and foster those ideas by Cleantech Open host organizations worldwide. Orchestrated in conjunction with the Kauffman Foundation and Global Entrepreneurship Week, startups from around the world competed in their countries for national awards; the national winners then faced off at the Global Forum for a prize worth $100,000 in startup services. This year, more than 1,000 applications were submitted in countries around the world, with teams from 23 countries traveling to the Global Forum. Six teams were then selected to present to the audience:

A panel of expert judges determined the winner: Biofiltro of Chile.



In June 2011, the Cleantech Open selected 120 regional semifinalists from a pool of nearly 300 entries submitted by talented cleantech entrepreneurs in six regions across the United States. From these 120 teams, regional judging panels selected 21 finalist teams, each of which received $20,000 in cash and services, with the overall winner for each region receiving an additional $10,000 in cash and services. All 21 finalist teams and 5 additional regional sustainability finalists then went on to compete at the Global Forum in front of a live judging panel that selected 5 category winners, each of which took home $10,000 in cash and services. Judges then selected the National Grand Prize winner (which receives $250,000 in seed investment and services) from the 5 category winners. A separate panel of judges selected the National Sustainability Prize winner (which receives $10,000 in cash and services).



The Cleantech Open is made possible by the generous support provided by our Global Partner, Chevron; National Education Partner, University of Phoenix; and National Sponsors, Autodesk and Wells Fargo. Regional competitions are additionally sponsored by the following corporate partners: Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati (multi-region), Deloitte (multi-region), Jones Lang Lasalle (multi-region), The Dow Chemical Company (multi-region), PricewaterhouseCoopers (multi-region), CTSI, CalCEF, Commercial Energy, Faegre & Benson, Google, Grundfos, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Mintz Levin, Patton Boggs, PG&E, Reed Smith, and many others.



The Cleantech Open runs the world’s largest cleantech accelerator. Its mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the Cleantech Open provides the infrastructure, expertise and strategic relationships that turn clever ideas into successful global cleantech companies. Since 2006, through its one-of-a-kind annual business competition and mentorship program, the Cleantech Open has enabled 593 clean-technology startups to bring their breakthrough ideas to fruition, helped alumni contestants raise over $500M in external capital, and created thousands of green-collar jobs. Fueled by a global network of more than 1,000 volunteers and sponsors, the Cleantech Open unites the public and private sectors in a shared vision for making America’s and the world’s cleantech sectors a thriving economic engine. For more information, visit www.cleantechopen.org, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


For more information:

Tim Cox, PR Chair, Cleantech Open

+1-650-369-7784 — tim@zingpr.com


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Indow Windows wins Energy Efficiency Award at the Cleantech Open

Indow Windows won the Energy Efficiency category Award at the 2011 Cleantech Open Global Forum. This represents the second category winner from the Pacific Northwest at the event.  Indow Windows also won the National Sustainability award for their exemplary sustainable business practices. Furthermore, they won the Pacific Northwest Regional award.  Indow Windows mass-customizes energy efficient window inserts. Congratulations to these great entrepreneurs and teams!


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GridMobility Wins Smart Power Category Award at Cleantech Open Global Forum

Washington State’s early stage GridMobility won the “Smart Power” category award at the Cleantech Open 2011 Global forum in San Jose, CA Tuesday evening. GridMobility’s “Renewable Demand Response” software enables power users to time-shift electricity consumption based on current availability of renewable electricity or “green electrons”. Bonneville Power Administration and a WA State utility are currently using the software as well as a number of major companies in commercial, industrial, and electric vehicle markets.

The National Cleantech Open winner across all categories will be announced today, Wednesday.

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Brammo Blasts Forward on the $28M B Round + Polaris Industries

Brammo announced today that it had secured another $28 million in private funding for its Series B round AND a  strategic deal with Polaris Industries who is also investing. With innovative design brains, technology,, market savvy, cash, good investors, and great strategics like Polaris and Flextronics, keep watching what Craig Bramscher (CEO) and his passionate team create out of the lovely Ashland, Oregon area.

“We are excited to advance our electric vehicle capability by establishing Polaris as a business partner and part owner of Brammo, one of the most innovative and aggressive companies I have found in the electric motorcycle space,” said Scott Wine, Polaris CEO. “Our companies share a passion for performance, and I look forward to exploiting the numerous opportunities created by pairing Brammo’s industry-leading electric powertrain technology with Polaris’s vast array of market-leading powersports products. This is a small but important investment for Polaris in an electric vehicle market that we feel is poised for significant growth.”

Also, see the MarketWatch announcement in this link:



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Puralytics Joins Global Cleantech 100

A Cleantech Open National winner in 2010, Puralytics now becomes a Global Cleantech 100 winner. Congratulations to Mark Owen and his team for their great, water purification innovation! “Puralytics recently exhibited and spoke at the Pacific Northwest Cleantech Open offering inspiration to this year’s semi-finalists,” said Byron McCann, NW Regional Director of the Cleantech Open.



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