Archive for May 25th, 2009

Here is some optimistic news on the economic crisis blues – Steve Westly goes out on a limb and predicts some IPO´s on the CleanTech sector horizon.

The story is by way of Reuters.

“Initial public offerings as of late have been about as common as celebratory banquets for Wall Street bankers. Last week, however, after some nine months of an IPO drought, two venture-backed startups, software maker SolarWinds and online restaurant reservation system OpenTable, broke the mold and went public. Neither was a cleantech firm, but the news was a positive sign for cleantech investor Steve Westly, managing partner of Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture firm The Westly Group. Westly tells us he sees a changing appetite for companies going public, and he predicts that venture-backed cleantech IPOs will happen by early 2010.

“I’ll go out on a limb -– Tesla, Silver Spring Networks, and possibly Solyndra will go public by the first quarter of next year,” he said in an interview. “I say this because all three of these companies in 2008 did between $10 million and $15 million in revenue, and in 2009 they will do over $150 million. When a company has 10x growth, that is a company you can take public.” The Westly Group has invested about $50 million into cleantech startups, including some $5 million in electric car maker Tesla. It has not backed smart grid startup Silver Spring Networks nor thin-film solar manufacturer Solyndra.”

The article concludes:

“Stephen Simko, solar analyst for Morningstar, still thinks it will be difficult for a solar company to IPO in this market. Solar panel supply far outstrips demand today, and financing for projects is difficult to access. “If lending thaws and the U.S. solar market starts to rise that will lead to the conditions necessary for companies to improve profit and that might lead to IPOs,” he said. “But only the best of breed will be considered.” Solyndra declined to comment for this article.

Of course, it might not be any of these three startups that make headlines as the first cleantech IPO after the drought. First Wind, a wind energy developer, and lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems both filed for IPOs in late 2008. While the filings don’t necessarily mean they will go public, it at least means executives at the firms have their eyes on that prize.”

Read the full article here.

Others covering this story includes: Earth2Teach and Business Insider.

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