The Secret app might be fueled by gossip, scandal, and salacious secrets, but it’s soared to popularity (at least in the Valley) because it’s used a no-UI concept and utter simplicity to just get out of the user’s way. Read more »
The Verge published an indepth expose on eccentric energy and computing entrepreneur Mike Cheiky and how he’s been able to convince Valley venture capitalists to invest in his companies, despite some early questionable scientific claims. Cool Planet announced last month that it raised another $100 million (from folks like Google Ventures, BP, UBS, Goldman Sachs and others), and to which my response on Twitter was “I thought this was an April Fools joke, but looks like not.” The companies that Cheiky has founded have distanced themselves from him, and some have changed directions and business models. But the energy industry is particularly susceptible to what I once called “snake oil energy salesmen and green bamboozlers.”
According to Dan Primack’s email newsletter Kleiner Perkins greentech-focused Partner Amol Deshpande appears to have launched a startup called the Farmer’s Business Network. Here’s the SEC filing for it, which shows it’s raised $4.6 million (or a $6 million round) and the company’s headquarters are in Kleiner’s offices in Menlo Park. Deshpande is listed as President and CEO.
Making agriculture more efficient through IT, as well as genetics, is a hot area for investment, while traditional “cleantech” has continued to decline. Deshpande lists on his bio that he’s worked on waste energy company Harvest Power, veggie protein startup Beyond Meat, and “a stealth agricultural company,” among others.
The startup is using M-PESA and a partnership with Kenyan telecom Safaricom to get solar into the hands of rural Kenyans. And it’s about to hit a major growth phase. Read more »
Have some compassion for the displaced coal workers, says Michael Bloomberg. They can’t just all go out and learn to code. Read more »
The Formula E race is cool, fun and focused on clean energy transportation tech, but it could also help deliver technology breakthroughs. Read more »
Fast Company published a lengthy and detailed article on the downfall of electric car infrastructure startup Better Place. The piece is filled with insights like “Shai math,” which employees and investors called the funky math that founder and former CEO Shai Agassi employed in running the business and in interviews with the media (like us!). It’s a tale of supremely chugging one’s own Kool-Aid. I did one of the last public interviews with Agassi in early 2013 on Better Place.
Optimizing the combos of little organisms that live on plants could help feed the booming population of the future. Read more »
New innovative UIs can be a little tricky to commercialize. Read more »
Opower started trading at $25 per share Friday morning, giving it a big pop from its $19 per share price last night. Read more »
Opower has priced its IPO at $19 per share in the late hours before trading on Friday morning. Read more »
Here’s to hoping Opower’s IPO will kick off a wave of meaningful startups from passionate entrepreneurs. Read more »
Turns out Fisker didn’t kill the DOE’s green car loan program after all — it’s getting a makeover. Read more »
Nest has had fans in the U.K. since it launched, but on Wednesday the thermostat-maker (recently bought by Google), started selling a U.K.-specific version of its home temperature device. The U.K. Nest thermostat solves different problems than the U.S. and Canadian versions (home heating works differently across the pond) and the U.K. version is also much more likely to need an installer.
While Google, Facebook, Apple and others made major strides for clean energy and Internet infrastructure, Amazon and AWS are lagging far behind. Read more »
Beleaguered biofuel maker Kior has managed to close the financing it was hoping from investor Vinod Khosla, which will keep the company from temporarily defaulting on its loans and filing for bankruptcy. In a filing, Kior says it will be getting monthly installments of $5 million (via a note purchase agreement) for up to $25 million. This could keep Kior afloat for a few months, but the company will need to raise much more project financing to move toward commercialization again. Kior’s stock is up over 50 percent on the news to $0.90 per share in morning trading. Check out my recent piece on the story of Kior.
Risk-taking is in Tesla and Elon Musk’s DNA and in the next couple of years the company will enter another high-risk period. Why? It needs to in order to pave the market for electric cars. Read more »
Innovation is alive and well around energy data, thanks to a series of initiatives and programs. Meet Ohmconnect, a bootstrapped startup that couldn’t have existed a couple years ago. Read more »
Responding to the car fires, Tesla tweaks its car design. Read more »
NRG Energy is kicking off its home rooftop solar plans by acquiring Roof Diagnostics Solar. Read more »
Startup OneRoof Energy has closed another funding round of $31.5 million, according to a filing. Launched in 2011 and based in San Diego, Calif., OneRoof teams up with roofers and electricians to sell rooftop solar systems and financing products (like leases). The company has also raised funding from Morgan Stanley, Black Coral Capital’s energy fund and Korean power company Hanwha. The market for solar panel systems is growing dramatically in the U.S.
This $31.5 million is a subset of OneRoof Energy’s recent reverse merger with Carlaw Capital IV, a Canadian capital pool company, with total proceeds of around 50 million Canadian dollars. The $31.5 million is the portion of shares purchased by U.S. investors.
Updated on March 31, 11:04 AM PST to clarify the funding.
Now that Opower is going public, its market value is out there — and it’s worth less than a third of another smart energy company, Nest. Read more »
Using genetically modified organisms, LanzaTech is looking to turn the world’s industrial waste gases into fuels and chemicals. Read more »
KiOR is a mess and provides yet another cautionary tale to energy entrepreneurs and investors. Read more »
Can NRG be as effective as Google, Amazon, Apple or Facebook in the energy space? Read more »
Opower has set the price range on its planned IPO, and it could raise $110 million in the offering. Read more »
Wind way up in the skies. Startup Altaeros is starting to deliver on its idea. Read more »
This just in from the future: a TED talk from a computer. Read more »
Are the combination of solar panels and grid batteries so powerful that they’re causing utilities to block them? Or are the utilities just moving slowly? Read more »
Here’s the back story on Amazon’s new data stream processing engine Kinesis. Read more »
The age of DE$IGN is upon us, says Kleiner Perkins partner John Maeda. Read more »
Finally an easier way to leverage all that disparate climate change data out there. Thanks Obama! Now its time for the tech community to respond. Read more »
Data from human trafficking hotlines can be mined to identify trends and shape policy. Read more »
Robotics, machine learning, computer vision and precision agriculture are the hot trends behind this startup’s weed-killing robots and their latest funding round. Read more »
Self-driving cars are imminent and will be transformational, says designer and technologist Bran Ferren. Read more »
After seven years, d.light is starting to have a sizable impact on the lives of rural villagers in India and Africa. Read more »
A wearable focused on authentication may be coming next year from a new wearable computing company and a hot design studio. Read more »
Chris Christie is still dealing with the backlash from Bridgegate. Is Teslagate next? Read more »
It’s a big year for water. LG Chem is getting into the desalination seawater market by acquiring startup NanoH20. Read more »
Here’s a bit of advice on cleantech investing from a partner at Generation, a London-based firm founded by Al Gore and David Blood. Read more »