Energy Efficiency Venture Capital: Who Got What?

Jan. 27, 2015
Who got what when it comes to energy efficiency venture capital last year? Here’s a look at companies, cities and states that were winners.

So it may seem like energy storage is the big star these days. But it turns out that there were just as many energy efficiency venture capital deals  last year, according to a new report.

CB Insights ranked energy efficiency and energy storage as tied for third place, along with green/environmental software, for venture capital deals in 2014. The three each captured eight percent of the green tech VC pie,  according to the data company’s report, “The 2014 US Venture Capital Year in Review.”

Internet software/services came in second place with 13 percent. And what was the big winner? No surprise there. Renewables took 20 percent.

Here are some of the larger energy efficiency and storage  deals featured by CB Insights. They show investor interest in energy tech for transportation, manufacturing, analytics, and storage aggregation. There is a definite leaning toward the kind of disruptive tech that is expected to radically change the conventional utility-dominated grid.

For energy efficiency:

  • The smart city focused company, Gogoro,  won $100 million in Series B funding, bringing total funding to $150 million since 2011.  Based in Seattle, the start-up recently rolled out an electric scooter with a battery that can be swapped out. It avoids the need for frequent recharging. Gogoro is partnering with Panasonic.
  • Transphorm, a California company, secured $10 million in debt financing for total funding of $162 million since 2007. The company offers power conversion modules that it says reduce energy loss by more than 50 percent, and simplify the design and manufacturing of motor drives, power supplies and inverters for solar panels and electric vehicles. The company has at least 15 investors, including Google Ventures.
  • Boston-based Next Step Living, a home energy solutions company that partners with municipalities to make homes more efficient, won $8.6 million in series E financing for a total of $66.55 million in funding since 2009.
  • Panoramic Power, which offers cloud-based energy analytics for businesses, secured $7 million in Series C funding for a total of $19.5 million since 2009. The company is based in Israel.

For energy storage:

  • Stem, a winner in a major Southern California Edison solicitation last year, recently secured $27 million in Series C financing. The California energy storage aggregator has secured a total of $61 million.
  • Aquion Energy won $36.8 million for a total of $151 million since 2008. The Pennsylvania company develops stationary batteries for off-grid, microgrid and industrial applications. Its investors include Bill Gates and Shell Technology Ventures.
  • Houston-based Earl Energy secured $6.5 million in debt financing , bringing total funding to $8.67 million since 2013. The company develops storage and power conversion tech for the military and microgrids for the oil and gas industry.

The top three states — California, Massachusetts and Texas — attracted 70 percent of the green tech venture capital. They were followed by New York, Washington, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Utah, Illinois and Ohio.

Among cities,  San Francisco and Oakland, California came in first, followed by Boston, Massachusetts and Austin, Texas.

In all, venture capital had its highest year since 2001 with $47.3 billion invested across, 3,617 deals, according to CB Insights.

Separately, Fenix International announced yesterday that it had raised $12.6 million in Series B and working capital. The San Francisco company has developed a storage/solar product that will allow those with no grid access to buy power through micro-payments via the cell phone. The company is focusing on Africa initially. Investors include GDF Suez, Schneider Electric, Orange France Telecom

Meanwhile, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Heising-Simons family recently announced $48 million in grants to advance state-based, clean energy solutions. The  money will go to local, state and national partners that plan to use clean energy resources to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon emissions standards under the still evolving Clean Power Plan. The initiative will include analysis of how different power types, including energy efficiency, can make the grid more robust.

Track the latest news on energy efficiency, energy storage and other green tech funding by following us on Twitter @EfficiencyMkts.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is the editor and founder of She is co-founder and former editor of Microgrid Knowledge.