Siebel, Condi Rice-backed Carbon Startup C3 Ups Funds


It’s probably not too hard for carbon-focused startup C3 to raise funds. Despite the fact that the company is in stealth and hasn’t released a product or game plan, it was started by Thomas Siebel — the guy who sold Siebel Systems to Oracle (s ORCL) for billions of dollars — and counts former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Senator and Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham as directors. (You know about as much as I do about how this group came together on this project). Well, according to an SEC filing, C3 is looking to up its funding by around $4 million to a total of $30 million.

While C3 isn’t speaking publicly right now, last year Siebel gave some clues into C3 and what the company would be doing during a speech at the Alliance of Chief Executives meeting. Enterprise software to help companies manage their carbon footprint, according to two people that attended the speech (Dave Kellogg, the CEO of Mark Logic, and Drue Kataoka of ValleyZen). Both reported that C3 would be focused on helping companies “monitor, mitigate and monetize” their carbon footprint.

The company, which explains itself only as “Energy and Emissions Management,” is run by Oracle veterans Patricia House (who co-founded Siebel Systems), Ed Abbo and Lenley Hensarling. According to several things I’ve heard (but I haven’t confirmed with the company), I think C3 stands for “Carbon Conscious Consumers.” Board members beyond Rice and Abraham, include S. Shankar Sastry, the dean of engineering at University of California, Berkeley.

At the end of the day, if the company is working on enterprise software for carbon management, I really want to know what makes its idea so compelling as to recruit so many high profile execs and board members. There are already over 22 different carbon management firms, including Hara, which has its own high-profile backers with political connections. (We’re looking at carbon management software at our Green:Net conference on April 29, with execs from SAP, Hara and AMEE.)

Oracle itself and SAP (s SAP) have also moved into the carbon management space. I don’t think carbon management software is about innovative technology at this point, though any innovation would be welcome. The market is more focused on getting big, getting customers and getting ready for Congress to pass a climate bill with a cap and trade system in it. The climate bill is looking more and more difficult to pass as of late, but the carbon management market is still really large (with international carbon markets and voluntary compliance) and will only grow larger over the coming years.

For more research on cleantech financing check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

Cleantech Financing Trends: 2010 and Beyond

Images courtesy of C3 and darthdowney’s photostream.


Eric Wesoff

Yes, I’d like to know what makes it’s idea so compelling as well. Hopefully Condi can bring the same effectiveness to this company that she brought to US foreign policy.

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