Cleantech Leads Khosla Ventures’ Capital Commitments

Cleantech Leads Khosla Ventures’ Capital Commitments

Despite the lean times and bad press that the cleantech industry has faced, Khosla Ventures has remained consistent in its investment thesis around the promise of renewable energy and energy-efficiency technologies.

It is by far the sector that has raised the most money in the Khosla portfolio, according to data from CrunchBase.

The firm’s interests span everything from energy storage, to efficient building materials, to new emissions reductions technologies.

“There are two categories within cleantech that are seeing some good attention,” says Chung. “Companies in the battery industry are still seeing some good attention… and another area we see a lot of excitement around — because the cost curves are moving in the right direction — is in the lighting space and the energy efficiency space.”

Indeed, Khosla Ventures’ investment in View Inc. was able to raise $100 million for its novel glass manufacturing technology and at the early stage, the firm backed Bidgely last June, which gives homeowners a way to easily monitor and manage their energy use.

Most recently, the firm invested $35 million into Ambri, a developer of battery storage technology.

Image by Artistic Photo/Shutterstock

Sequoia Backs Simplisafe In A Play For The Home Security Market

Sequoia Backs Simplisafe In A Play For The Home Security Market

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

Sequoia Capital has made a minority investment in the do-it-yourself home security company Simplisafe in a play on the home security and automation market, TechCrunch has learned.

The investment from Sequoia came on the heels of Google’s $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest Labs, which showed just how lucrative the home market can be. That deal netted a healthy return for investors, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Generation Investment Management, Venrock, and Google’s own Google Ventures. Continue reading

Seeking Growth, The Payments Industry Embraces New Technologies

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

Now a victim of its own omnipresent success, the global electronic payments industry is increasingly turning to new technologies as it looks to expand its footprint and find new ways to make money by getting consumers to spend theirs.

The pace of technological advancement in the payments market has even caused regulators to take notice, with innovations like cryptocurrencies continuing to grab headlines and attract government scrutiny at the federal and state level.

Those same regulators are also looking for ways to alleviate the financial pressures and burdens that affect the underbanked and to address the issues of privacy and security that continue to bedevil the industry. Continue reading

Entertainment Deals Take Center Stage In LA’s Burgeoning VC Scene

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

A string of big acquisitions, public offerings, and a pipeline of growing young startup companies has venture investors saying “I love L.A.

The recent acquisitions of Maker Studios and Oculus VR, as well as the planned public offering for TrueCar that’s finally going through, all point to a healthy investment ecosystem, but there’s still one industry that rules over Tinseltown: that’s entertainment.

“Our ecosystem has been building for the last 20 years and it is coming to a crescendo now,” said Mark Suster, a partner at the Los Angeles-based firm Upfront Ventures. “Americans watch 5.3 hours of television a day and they read less than a half an hour. You’re not going to change media consumption patterns [so] you’ll continue to see the rise of a tech ecosystem in L.A. because of the rise of TV and commerce and what that entails.” Continue reading

Boston Wraps Up Its Best Venture Quarter In Years

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

The TechCrunch wrecking ball is smashing into Boston as startups in the city are coming off their best quarter in years.

Boston-based startups managed to haul in over $1.2 billion in venture financing in 142 deals for the quarter, marking the strongest fundraising environment for Boston tech startups since 2009.

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Saeed Amidi’s Global Accelerator Network Plug And Play Expands To Brazil

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

The warp and weft of Saeed Amidi’s family story — transitioning from Iranian immigrants fleeing revolution in the 1970s to running a multi-million-dollar global family office and a vast technology accelerator network  — is one that could only have been woven in Silicon Valley.

It’s been nearly 30 years since Amidi’s family bought the building at 165 University Avenue in Palo Alto, Calif., which catapulted the family from selling high-end rugs to Silicon Valley’s investors and entrepreneurs to joining those investors at the heart of the Valley’s technology scene.

The multi-use office building whose second floor overlooks University Avenue has an allure in part because of the litany of successful technology companies that once called it home. Google was there in its infancy, along with PayPal — an early investment for Amidi — and Logitech, which called the building home in the early days following its move from Switzerland. Continue reading

SoFi Raising New Cash To Help Ease Students’ $1 Trillion Debt Burden

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

Student lending service Social Finance is close to securing a new round of as much as $75 million, according to two investors familiar with the company’s plans.

The San Francisco-based company is one of a new generation of lending and consulting services backed by venture investors that are looking to help debtors better manage the almost $1.2 trillion in student loan obligations currently breaking the financial backs of America’s graduates.

Social Finance, which does business as SoFi, has already raised $77 million in its last round of venture funding back in 2012 from investors, including the Chinese social networking service Renren, Baseline Ventures, and DCM. The company’s public relations firm did not respond to a request for comment for this article.

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Education Technology Startups Raised Over Half A Billion Dollars In Q1

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

Education technology-focused startups raised over $500 million already in the first quarter of 2014, marking the single biggest quarter for capital committed to the sector in the past five years.

What began as a trickle in 2009, with 20 companies raising over $64 million at the beginning of the year, is now a flood as funding leapt to $500 million in 99 venture-backed startups, according to CrunchBase data.

“It’s interesting because public education hasn’t changed that much in 150 to 200 years and there had been almost no technology going into it,” said Don Burton, managing director of the Techstars Kaplan Edtech Accelerator program. “It’s not only that there’s this huge behemoth sector of the economy that spends $1.2 trillion on educating kids, but that it’s old, it’s long in the tooth and it’s bound to get disrupted.”

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Opening Consumer Products To Crowdsourced Investment, CircleUp Raises $14 Million

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

Technology’s ability to harness the wisdom of crowds has created massive new businesses that support entrepreneurship around arts, craftsmanship, and technology while simultaneously re-shaping the market for personal lending.

With its new $14 million financing, CircleUp wants to change the development of consumer products with equity crowdfunding.

The Series B round was led by Canaan Partners, with commitments from previous investors Google Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Maveron and Rose Park Advisors.

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Noesis Raises $30 Million Finance Fund For Energy Efficiency

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

Taking a page from the SolarCity playbook, the hosted energy efficiency software and services company Noesis Energy has raised a new $30 million fund to help finance the energy efficiency projects of its customers.

The projects Noesis will fund will range from $300,000 to $1 million. Harmon would not disclose the name of the lender behind the debt vehicle, but said that the company would announce its involvement once it had crossed a certain lending threshold. Meanwhile, financing small-scale projects can offer big returns when rolled out across the nation’s service providers, according to Harmon.

Austin-based Noesis, which is backed by Austin Ventures and Black Coral Capital, has itself raised $20.5 million in two rounds of funding since its launch in 2011.

Noesis estimates that in the U.S. commercial and industrial organizations spend over $350 billion on energy each year, but at least $70 billion of that is wasted because of energy inefficient buildings, outdated lighting, and other issues.

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