If Kleiner Perkins-backed startup Bloom Energy was “close” to unveiling its fuel cell four months ago, when the company headlined the New York Times Magazine, it’s now within inches. Back then, a reporter who spoke with tight-lipped Bloom CEO K. R. Sridhar and Kleiner VCs concluded that the startup “will almost certainly have a commercial product ready within a year or two.”
Bloom has never been forthcoming with details (unusually so for a company at this stage), and it didn’t confirm the one-to-two-year plan. But documents obtained by VentureWire now suggest the window was a lot wider than they needed. VentureWire (subscription) today reports that Bloom claims to have begun commercial shipments and plans to close a $150 million Series F round of financing by March 2. The offering is based on a pre-money valuation of $1.45 billion, according to VentureWire.
What’s the gameplan? For revenue, Bloom plans to not only sell and lease its 5 KW Bloom boxes (which the Kleiner site describes as “a flexible fuel cell system that produces clean, reliable and affordable energy from a wide range of fuels,” reducing carbon emissions by 50-100 percent per kilowatt) but also enter power-purchasing agreements. Those agreements will be made through an as-yet unnamed wholly owned subsidiary. Within 4-5 years, the company aims to build a multibillion dollar business, says VentureWire. True to stealthy form, Bloom chose not to comment on the dates, valuation or strategy.