Cleanteach companies short on exits
Enphase Energy: a lonely example of a cleantech IPO.
While researching a story today, I happened upon a two-year-old post by Wired magazine on the top cleantech IPO candidates -- eight of which happen to be Bay Area-based companies.
The list provides pretty good perspective on why cleantech has fallen out of favor with investors.
Of the top 10 cleantech IPO candidates from Sept. 5, 2010, only one — Enphase Energy — has gone public or achieved an exit for its investors. A Petaluma-based solar inverter company, Enphase raised just $51.1 million in its March public debut, about half of what it initially targeted.
The remaining nine IPO candidates to watch from two years ago have achieved varying amounts of progress toward an exit. But investors have few success stories on which to pin their hopes. Below I take a brief look at each of the IPO candidates from two years ago.
In April, SolarCity said it had filed confidential registration for an IPO. No one has heard from the company since and it's unclear when it might go public. Still, its one of the fastest-growing solar installers in the country and has expanded rapidly.
Silver Spring Networks filed its registration for an IPO in July 2011. Fourteen months later -- still no word on when the smart grid networking company might pull the trigger.
BrightSource Energy is still a star in cleantech. Despite its capital intensity, it's actually building its first giant desert power plant. No one knows if it will be able to finance additional plants but the Oakland-based company can at least show its moving forward. Still, it pulled its IPO after almost a year in registration, citing macroeconomic factors. There's no telling when it might try again.
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