Archive for December 2006

Happy Holiday Season!

December 22, 2006

As the year approaches its well deserved finishing line, I would like to wish all people who have been reading my blog or have given me suggestions and feedback along the last year a very happy holiday season and all the best for the upcoming year!

2006 was exciting for the VC and start-up business! I am extremly positive that this trend will continue into 2007!

I look forward to working with you all!

Best wishes

Jürgen

Cellulosic Ethanol taking off in USA

December 20, 2006

Cellulosic ethanol, the production of ethanol from a number of biomass products i.e. paper sludge, wood chips, switch grass and corn stover, is taking off in the US! Often referred to as the “holy grail” in biomass-to-ethanol, this new approach would allow to use various input sources, not just expensive corn or crops.

One of our Cleantech portfolio companies, Mascoma, operates in this exciting new market. The company (I have written about this new Atlas investment in the past) recently got a contract for $15m from the New York State to build and operate a demonstration facility. Thumbs up on this amazing achievement!

Takeaway: I am confident that European start-ups, entrepreneurs as well as venture capitalists will also embrace the huge opportunity around cellulosic ethanol!

Recommendation: If you are interested in the biomass market in general, you should definitely check out the Biomass Europe in Berlin 2007.

Update on Isilon IPO!

December 20, 2006

Update on my previous article on our portfolio company Isilon:

The Seattle-based company debuted on NASDAQ on Friday, December 15, 2006 under the symbol “ISLN” and opened at $25, up 92% from its IPO price of $13. It’ll be the third biggest opening day gainer of the year and will have market cap far above $1.4Bn! Atlas Venture V was a founding investor in Isilon in May 2001.

What an amazing year end! Congrats to the whole team involved!

Isilon IPO on Nasdaq!

December 15, 2006

Lilliputian Systems and MicroOptical get recognised as WEF Tech Pioneers 2007

December 14, 2006

Congratulations to two of our portfolio companies, who were nominated recently for the World Economic Forum Tech Pioneer Award 2007:

Lilliputian Systems, one of our Cleantech investments, developing micro-fuel cells for portable devices, Interview with Ken Lazarus, and

MicroOptical, providing a new “viewing” experience for digital content, Interview with Kip Kokinakis – No wonder, Paris Hilton love this product!

Congrats and well deserved to both companies!

SAM Private Equity becomes Emerald Technology Ventures

December 14, 2006

SAM Private Equity announced yesterday, that due to the recent “merger” of Robeco and SAM Group, the private equity arm of SAM is buying out the entire private equity business to create Emerald Technologies. SAM Private Equity is one of the leading Cleantech oriented VCs managing 3 funds with a total of €250M in committed capital under management, 16 professionals, 26 portfolio companies and with offices in Europe and North America.

Takeaway: Good timing to spin-out the private equity business and establish a new stand-alone player in the Cleantech space. Recent exits in the Cleantech space are attracting more and more interest from the public markets, fueling the inflow of additional capital into the VC industry. Now we all need to deliver on these promises!

BASF fuels its product offering with Pemeas Fuel Cell Technologies

December 14, 2006

A ping by one of the people close to Pemeas Fuel Cell Technologies has alerted me to the recent announcement that BASF is buying Pemeas Full Cell Technologies, a leading company in the fuel cell business. Pemeas was founded in April 2004 as a spin-off of the former Hoechst Group’s fuel cell activities. The company has approximately 50 employees and operates manufacturing and R&D facilities in Germany and in the U.S. The company’s product can be used, for example, in portable electronics, residential applications or backup power systems.

According to industry analysts, the global fuel cell market will grow from €1 billion in 2010 to €21.5 billion in 2020. Fuel cells are environmentally friendly and can operate with a variety of fuels. They can also be used in a wide variety of applications, such as in laptop computers, homes and cars.

Takeaway: From what I heard, the company was considering a listing on the stock exchange in the near future, now the acquisition by BASF comes as a bold move to take advantage of top cleantech technology made in Germany. Good move and congrats to the VC investors BankInvest and SAM Private Equity.

Recommendations: We need more of these cleantech investment / exits here in Europe! The exit channels – no matter if public markets or M&A transactions – are out there!