VC clean tech investment exceeds Q3 expectations

Global venture capital (VC) investment in clean technologies is fast approaching pre-recession levels, according to new figures from research firm Greentech Media.

The data reveals that investment during the third quarter rose 58 per cent to $1.9bn (£1.2bn).

The performance followed similar gains during the second quarter, when VC investment rose from $836m during the first quarter of the year to $1.2bn, and fuelled predictions that investment could return to the record levels recorded in 2008.

According to the report, solar continued to dominate the sector with $575m invested across 29 deals as solar firms sought to scale up production.

Biofuels and clean coal technologies also performed well, securing $513m in VC backing across 17 deals, while smart grid, green auto technologies, sustainable buildings, and green materials all broke through the $100m mark for the quarter.

The report also revealed that while there were a number of multi-million dollar deals, with solar panel manufacturer Solyndra for example pulling in nearly $200m, there were also signs that VCs appetite for investing in higher-risk early stage firms is returning.

The figures will provide a further boost to a clean tech VC sector already celebrating the stellar IPO recorded by battery manufacturer A123Systems last week. The Massachusetts-based company saw its share price soar 50 per cent on the first day of trading, despite having yet to record a profit.

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