The Gold Rush

It is 1849 again, only this time the movement of caravans are not traveling West, but are headed East to Washington D.C.   I’m referring to the passing of the $787B stimulus package aka American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act of 2009 that was recently signed by President Obama.

The NVCA had a conference call last week, on Tuesday 2/17/09, to describe what the effect of the stimulus package is for the VC industry and the call was certainly a positive one.  The good news for startups and VCs is that roughly 8% of the $787B is going to support initiates in the cleantech and life science sectors.  According to the NVCA, the breakdown of the allocated funding is as follows; $37B for cleantech related programs/projects, $19B for healthcare IT, and $5B for science related programs/projects.  To put these figures into perspective, according to the recent PWC/NVCA MoneyTree report, VCs invested $28B in 2008 and of that $4.6B went to energy related companies.   Another figure that put things into perspective, since 2002, VCs have invested a total of $13B in energy related companies, so the stimulus package provides the industry roughly 3X this total amount.

The stimulus package is a huge boost to both startups and VCs in the cleantech sector.  Lets focus on the $37B available for cleantech companies; those that will fair the best are ones that are currently generating revenue and/or are close to production.  In addition, the folks at the NVCA indicated that the companies that have the strongest ties to D.C/DOE will likely move to the front of the line.  Lastly, those that have the most postive impact on job creation will do well, so I suspect that companies in the solar, wind, biofuel, battery/auto, and smartgrid sectors will get most of the allocated funding.  With that in mind, a partial list of privately held venture backed companies that are heading East for some cash and will likely strike gold are (in no particular order):

Solar: BrightSource Energy, Solyndra, Solar City, NanoSolar, SolFocus, Miasole, Fat Spaniel, AVA Solar, CaliSolar, eSolar, Konarka

Battery/Auto: Better Place, A123 Systems, Tesla, Boston Power, Fisker, Deeya

Biofuels: Range Fuels, Mascoma, Amyris, Altra Biofuels, Qteros

Smartgrid: Silver Spring Networks,  Gridpoint

Wind: Northern Power, Southwest Windpower, Wasatch Wind,

Discolsure – I put together this list based on information that has already been made public and is readily available online.

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