Building sustainable businesses from the earliest stages of technology investing – helping seed a green revolution among cleantech startup companies.


In the News


News from December, 2009

Lifeguards on patrol at Christmas

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

BBC News

The RNLI’s only year-round lifeguards have spent their first Christmas working at Europe’s first artificial surf reef in Dorset.

Three lifeguards are providing cover at Boscombe beach throughout the festive season, including two on Christmas day.

Bournemouth Borough Council is funding the new year-round operation. RNLI lifeguards normally operate on beaches only until autumn.

RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews were also on standby across the Dorset coast.

Michael Winter, 27 and Andy Reakes, 23, are the lifeguards who were due to be on duty on Christmas Day.
Mr Winter said as he prepared for his shift: “We’re preparing for a busy time on Christmas day.

“We’ve got our fingers crossed for some surf and hopefully the reef will be working, but I am sure there will be plenty of people making the most of their day with the family and wanting to get into the water whatever the conditions.” (Full Article)


San Francisco group offers incentives to sign up for solar

Monday, December 21st, 2009

SF Gate – Tracey Taylor

The Copenhagen talks may have ended on a whimper, but that doesn’t mean we can’t individually continue to explore ways to extend the planet’s lifespan, even just a tad.

With such considerations in mind, One Block Off The Grid (1BOG) and groSolar are offering a discount to Bay Area homeowners over the next month to bite the bullet and install solar panels. At the same time, they are launching a pilot program with Solar Richmond which will provide 4-week vocational solar training and soft employment skills to low-income Bay Area residents for green-collar jobs. (Full Article)


Companies offer solar worker ‘sponsorship’

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

San Francisco Business Times – Staff

One Block Off the Grid, groSolar and Solar Richmond are offering solar customers an opportunity to sponsor a solar worker through Jan. 31.

Solar Richmond offers technical training to potential solar employees. Through the new program, residents interested in solar can make a tax-deductible $112 donation on top of their solar system costs to sponsor a graduate of Solar Richmond’s green jobs training course. That sponsored worker will get two days of hands-on training installing the customer’s solar system alongside solar installer groSolar. (Full Article)


Smartphones Driving Adoption of Mobile TV

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Cellular News

Consumer demand for mobile TV and VOD is being driven by the ability of smartphones to deliver personalised and targeted content that can be accessed immediately. ¬The recent Olswang ‘Digital Convergence’ Survey of UK consumers revealed that ownership of an iPhone encouraged 37% of users to substitute their home TV viewing by watching VOD services on their device.

MobiTV, a provider of live streaming and VOD services, believes that devices like the iPhone have transformed the experience of watching TV on a mobile handset and support the view that smart phones will continue to drive consumer adoption of mobile TV services. (Full Article)


In Time for the Holidays, Sometrics Unveils ‘Shop & Earn’ In-Game Shopping Feed

Monday, December 14th, 2009

NewsBlaze – Press Release

Consumers Earn Virtual Currency By Shopping Online, Publishers Gain New Revenue Channel

LOS ANGELES – (BUSINESS WIRE) – Sometrics (www.Sometrics.com) today launched a new in-game Shop & Earn Shopping Feed that enables consumers to earn virtual currency for games when they make online purchases at select brand-name retailers. Shop & Earn helps consumer’s purchases go further while generating revenue for publishers of free-to-play games.

Much like earning airline miles or cash back when using a credit card, people playing participating games online can use the Sometrics Shop & Earn Shopping Feed to earn virtual currency for use within a participating online game, extending and enhancing their game play. Players looking to earn game currency simply click through the Shopping Feed to get to their favorite participating retailers, purchase products as they normally would, and watch their game credits increase. (Full Article)


groSolar Installs 100 kW Solar System on RSD Transportation & Warehouse Services

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Green Jobs – GroSolar Press Release

Largest Solar System in the upper CT River Valley

groSolar, a national leader in solar power with headquarters in Vermont, announced today completion of the largest solar power system in the Upper Valley on the roof of RSD Companies. The building is the location of groSolar’s White River Junction, Vt headquarters.

RSD Companies financed the 100 kw system through a 3rd party “power purchase agreement,” which gives the company stable long-term power costs and a greener building, without any up-front costs. The system should produce 120,000 kilowatt hours per year and will be net-metered to offset up to 20 percent of the power used by multiple tenants of the building, including groSolar. Net metering means that excess power will be sold back to the area utility: Green Mountain Power (GMP). (Full Article)


Copenhagen Takes to a New Breed of Mini-Windmill

Monday, December 7th, 2009

The New York Times – Natalia Rachlin

In front of City Hall here, three white cylindrical structures have recently been installed. They look like minimalist Danish sculpture, and their name, Windspires, evokes that as well.

But these are totally functional devices. The Windspire, brought to the market last year by the U.S. company Mariah Power, is a small, vertical-axis wind turbine. In a bid to introduce wind power into the cityscape and to raise public awareness of energy use, the utility company Dong Energy, 73 percent-owned by the Danish government, has acquired exclusive rights to sell it in Denmark. (Full Article)


Jeff & Dori Wolfe’s Excellent Adventure in Copenhagen

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Renewable Energy World – GroSolar

Couple hopes to make a climate difference while on vacation

Copenhagen/White River Jct., Vt. – When most people take vacation the idea is to escape, not to make a difference. Jeff and Dori Wolfe of White River Jct. are not “most people”.

They are the co-founders of groSolar, the nation’s fourth largest residential solar energy installer and nationwide distributer. Jeff and Dori will be “vacationing” in Copenhagen on the darkest month of the year. The main draw for the couple – the climate change conference in Copenhagen.

“We’re going to Copenhagen not simply to watch, but to move the world toward a sane climate policy. Taking vacation at a climate conference is not most people’s idea of fun, especially in Denmark in the winter, but Dori and I did not hesitate to commit to it,” said Jeff Wolfe.

The couple will be traveling as part of the delegation from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the U.S. national trade group for the solar power industry. SEIA has “party status” – meaning the organization has been nominated by the U.S. to participate in climate discussions at the conference. SEIA will be working with other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) during the conference. (Full Article)


Aravo Boosts Series D By $20M, Sees Revenue Doubling In 2010

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Dow Jones Financial Information Services – Scott Denne

With the worst of the economic crisis presumably behind it, Aravo Solutions Inc., a maker of supplier information management software, said it plans to double revenue next year after boosting its Series D round by $20 million.

Cisco Systems Inc. was the largest investor in the round, which now totals $27 million. Also participating were several new and existing investors, most of whom are current and former financial executives. Investors include Charles Schwab, chairman of Charles Schwab Corp.; Stephen Friedman, former chief executive of Goldman Sachs & Co.; and William Harrison, former CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Aravo closed on the first $7 million toward the round a year ago but “hit the pause button” when the financial crisis hit, said Tim Albinson, its CEO and founder. While waiting to wrap up the full round, which had a $25 million target, Cisco expressed an interest in investing and the company raised the remaining $20 million, Albinson said. (Full Article)


Aravo Closes $27 Million Series D Round with Cisco as New Strategic Investor

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Business Wire – Press Release

Aravo and Cisco to Power Next Generation of Enterprise Supplier Collaboration

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aravo today announced that it has closed a $27 million Series D financing round with Cisco as a new strategic investor and the largest participant in the round. In addition, Aravo announced that Cisco WebEx technologies will be integrated with Aravo Supplier Information Management (SIM) to facilitate real-time collaboration between buyers and suppliers.

The $27 million Series D financing brings Aravo’s total investment to $50 million. The Cisco strategic investment represents Aravo’s first institutional investment, with all prior financing provided by individuals. The majority of Aravo’s Series A, B, and C lead investors participated in round D, including Charles Schwab/Big Sky Partners (Chairman, Charles Schwab Corporation) and Stephen Friedman (former Chairman, Goldman Sachs). A select group of new investors also participated in the round, including William Harrison (former CEO/Chairman, JP Morgan Chase). (Full Article)



Aravo’s $27 Million Funding Round: A Few Thoughts on Its Market Implications

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Spend Matters – Jason Busch 

Earlier this morning, Aravo announced a $27 million funding round led by Cisco. While you can read the details of the funding round in the above-linked Spend Matters column — along with some thoughts from the transaction’s lead engineer, Aravo’s CEO Tim Albinson — I thought I’d take a few minutes in this post to share my analysis of what the funding round means for this sector. Perhaps most interesting on a superficial level is how with this round, Aravo appears to be migrating away from their supplier information management (SIM) positioning to what they describe as a broader approach to supplier collaboration that encompasses basic vendor management and vendor information management. Of course they summarize this in a three letter acronym — it must always be three letters, mustn’t it — as enterprise supplier collaboration. Or ESC for short. While this may have a certain branding ring to it, I’m not so sure that moving away from the concept of managing supplier information and leading with the notion of collaboration is the right approach in selling what Aravo does for procurement organizations. (Full Article)


Spend Ramblings: Aravo Raises $27 Million From Cisco and Others

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Spend Matters – Jason Busch

Later this morning, Aravo will announce that it has closed on its latest round of funding. For observers of our industry, this should provide significant validation that the demand for innovative procurement and supply-chain software remains healthy. Moreover, both the size of the round ($27 million) and the cache of the lead investor (Cisco) suggest that the growth prospects for at least one area of the Spend Management world might be significantly larger than many initially thought. The fact that the funding round happened in this environment, where large amounts of venture money are hard to come by at fast-growth start-up technology valuations, makes the investment and what it represents even more impressive. Altogether, Aravo has now raised $50 million in venture funding.

Cisco is not alone in supporting this deal: Many of Aravo’s earlier investors in their series A, B, and C rounds also participated in this round. Clearly, Tim Albinson, Aravo’s Founder and CEO, has got some good contacts in the investment arena, perhaps owing to his past stint as an investment banker at Goldman, not to mention the contacts he’s made in building out Aravo’s business. The individual investors in this round who also participated in earlier series funding include Charles Schwab/Big Sky Partners and Stephen Friedman (former Chairman of Goldman Sachs). (Full Article)


Cisco Leads $27 Million Round For Aravo

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Washington Post, Tech Crunch – Leena Rao

Aravo, a SAAS supplier chain management tool just raised a whopping $27 million in Series D funding led by Cisco, with other investors participating. In addition, Cisco’s web meeting and collaboration platform, WebEx, will be integrated with Aravo’s Supplier Information Management (SIM) to facilitate real-time collaboration between buyers and suppliers.

This latest investment brings Aravo’s total funding to $50 million. Investors that participated in the latest round include Big Sky Partners, Stephen Friedman and William Harrison. Aravo says the new funding will be used to develop new products and to expand sales, marketing, and delivery channels. As part of the agreement, Aravo will work closely with Cisco to power and enhance Cisco WebEx. Aravo’s software includes options to track ISO certifications, sustainability initiatives, and risk analysis. (Full Article)


Mariah Power Names Walt Borland President and CEO

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Mariah Power – Press Release

Small Wind Company Prepares for Continued Growth of Windspire® Wind Turbines

RENO, NEVADA – Mariah Power, a small-wind company and developer of the Windspire wind turbine, today announced the appointment of Walt Borland as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Borland succeeds Mike Hess, who will assume the newly created role of Executive Advisor.

Borland is the former President and CEO of Advanced Data Exchange (ADX), a leading provider of supply chain integration services. Borland is also the executive director and founder of the Clean Energy Foundation based in Incline Village, Nevada. (Full Article)


$68m in solar rebates goes fast

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Boston Globe – Erin Ailworth, Globe Staff

State readying new plan for Jan.

Massachusetts is burning through money for solar projects.

A $68 million state fund to provide sizable rebates to homeowners and business owners who install solar panels was expected to last three or four years. But the program – offering homeowners rebates that averaged more than $13,000 – proved so popular that the $68 million was tapped out in October, just 22 months after the program began.

Pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming demand, Massachusetts officials are developing a successor to the original program, dubbed Commonwealth Solar, and hope to have it ready by Jan. 1. Officials are trying to make the new subsidies as generous as the original ones. (Full Article)