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Steve Vassallo and Trae Vassallo are among some of the more well-known cleantech and digital energy investors. Thing is, they’re married, are raising three kids, and also work at two different venture capital firms that sometimes compete on deals. Trae works for Kleiner Perkins and Steve for Foundation Capital. This is what it’s like to compete on a deal with your spouse:

“[W]e still laugh about competing over Opower; we had a sneaking suspicion that we were both engaged, based on the mystery trips back East.”

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Venture capital firm Khosla Ventures already has a long list of startups that it’s backed that are looking to make food more sustainable — like plant-based egg maker Hampton Creek Foods, organic candy company Unreal Candy, salt replacement product Nu-Tek Salt, and plant-based meat replacement startup Sand Hill Foods. But Fasto.co Exist has the details on the Khosla-backed vegan cheese startup Kite Hill, which uses nut milk instead of dairy to make artisanal cheeses.

In Brief

Biofuel startup LS9 has been sold for $40 million to biodiesel maker Renewable Energy Group, reports MIT Tech Review. But before you congratulate them, note that LS9 raised $81 million over nine years, and still hadn’t reached a point where it was selling its green diesel to refiners. Last year the company brought in a new CEO, following restructuring and layoffs. Such are the long roads and harsh conditions facing biofuel startups. LS9 was backed by Khosla Ventures, Flagship Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures, and Chevron Technology Ventures.

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Some of the largest solar farms in the world that use the sun’s rays to make heat are just now coming online in California — at the same time that the state is suffering one of the worst droughts in five hundred years. MIT Tech Review takes a look at why solar thermal farms are so water intensive, what’s to be done about it, and checks out some of the newer “dry cooling” technologies that are being used to reduce the water needed.

In Brief

Facebook’s director of brand design, and former design director for four years, Kate Aronowitz, is leaving the company. She announced the move on, where else, Facebook, and says she’ll be working on projects that matter to her and spending more time with her family. Facebook has spent considerable resources building a design team, and acquiring design talent, but it’s been hard to keep some of the young design talent around.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk is so bullish on the Chinese market that he tells Bloomberg that Tesla might eventually build a local plant in the country. Whether that would be a production factory like its one in Fremont, California, or an assembly plant like its new one in Tilburg in the Netherlands, remains to be seen. Tesla priced its Model S in China last week at $121,000, including shipping and taxes.

On The Web

Cable giant Comcast is exploring selling electricity as the fourth leg of an experimental “quadruple play” in Pennsylvania. According to the head of the state’s energy regulator, the cable giant is looking at partnering up with a retail electric supplier in the state to offer the product, possible in the fourth quarter of this year.

In Brief

Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla has written a 2,000-word open letter to 60 Minutes and CBS in response to their recent “Cleantech Crash” report, which featured lengthy interviews with Khosla and a tour of one of Khosla’s portfolio companies. He asserts that there are numerous errors in the piece, that the journalists who made it were practicing “agenda-driven bastardization of news reporting,” and that the story “grossly misrepresented the state of the sustainable energy industry.”

You can read the entire letter here. He also says in the letter that Khosla Venture’s “cleantech portfolio is profitable.” Here’s my take on the 60 Minutes piece; here’s NRG CEO David Crane’s response; and here’s clean power entrepreneur and investor Jigar Shah’s take.

In Brief

Electric car company Tesla Motors announced on Friday that it’s pushed an over-the-air software update to its Model S cars that will stop overheating while charging in the event that the electrical outlet has faulty wiring, corrosion or physical damage. Tesla also sent its customers a new charger wall adapter that will address the same overheating issues. The move follows an incident where a garage caught on fire in Irvine, Calif., which may or may not have been caused by charging a Tesla Model S, and Jalopnik and Bloomberg note that there have been several issues with overheating while charging last year.

On The Web

Tesla’s Model X is supposed to launch to its first customers at the end of this year and in early 2015, but already the car is starting to be seen driving around the streets near Tesla’s design shop in Los Angeles. InsideEVs posted these pics, and says it seems to be the only fully operational Model X yet in existence. We took these pics of the Model X prototype in early 2012.

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