ClearEdge lands the big one: $73.5M

ClearEdge Power's new $73.5 million investment comes as the market for stationary fuel cells is heating up.

ClearEdge Power's new $73.5 million investment comes as the market for stationary fuel cells is heating up.

ClearEdge Power Inc. hauled in $73.5 million in what is likely its last round of investment before a planned initial public offering of stock, company officials announced Tuesday.

Investors in the Series E financing include Artis Capital Management, Austria-based Güssing Renewable Energy, Southern California Gas Company and Kohlberg Ventures. Artis and Güssing are new ClearEdge investors.

"In this environment to raise this kind of money is really amazing," said Mike Upp, vice president of marketing at ClearEdge. The company will use the money to expand into new markets and ramp up sales and marketing.

The Hillsboro fuel cell company stayed mum after an initial close of the Series E — $13.5 million — reported by Sustainable Business Oregon in July. That amount was part of the investment announced Tuesday.

Artis Capital Management, the round's lead investor, is a secretive San Francisco-based hedge fund known primarily for its tech investments. Artis was an early investor in YouTube and in solar high-flier Solyndra.

Upp said ClearEdge's new investors are strategic ones. Güssing, for example, will expedite ClearEdge's entry into the European market.

"We have a test going on there now," Upp said.

The investment also comes at a tipping point in the market for fuel cells. Pike Research reports that growth in the stationary fuel cell industry was 27 percent over the last two years.

While the company does not disclose revenue, ClearEdge reports a year over year increase of more than 400 percent for the second quarter.

Upp said most of that growth is coming from commercial customers in California and the Northeastern United States.

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