During the first quarter of 2011, venture capital firms invested $2.57 billion in clean energy deals, a rise of more than 50 percent versus the fourth quarter of 2010.
However, the number of deals declined, as VC firms only invested in 159 companies, the lowest quarterly output since mid-2009. Which, actually, might not be all that bad.
Deal values rising coupled with deal numbers falling seem to point to VC firms shifting their focus from seed financing to mid- and late-stage financing, perhaps indicating that clean energy firms are becoming more significant and thus need larger rounds of financing to roll out their services on a wider scale.
Of the VC firms making the largest clean energy investments in the past three monts, nearly all were located in Silicon Valley: Kleiner Perkins (the firm that ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman recently joined), Khosla Ventures (whose homepage quotes Michael Jordan*), Google Ventures (which in additon to offices in California has outposts in New York, Cambrige and Seattle) and VantagePoint (which posts available positions -- and currently there are a ton, several in accounting and finance -- at all of its portfolio companies, including hotshot electric sports car manufacturer Tesla Motors, whose IPO was co-led by a firm called Goldman Sachs).
*"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
(San Jose Mercury News)