California champions cleantech venture capital funding

California was responsible for raising 57 percent of all cleantech venture capital funding nationwide last year, totaling $2.8 billion, according to a recently released analysis from Ernst & Young, as reported in the Los Angeles Times.

“It’s a good indicator of the innovation that can be found here and of the opportunities available in California,” Mark Sogomian, an Ernst & Young partner and leader of the Los Angeles cleantech group, says in the article. The state has that “secret sauce that allows companies to grow and develop and gain capital.”

San Fernando Valley benefits from increased IPO activity

Judging from the recent initial public offerings of companies like Wesco Aircraft Holdings, Ceres Inc., Inphi Corp. and ReachLocal in the past year, companies in the greater San Fernando Valley are thriving. The region’s IPOs are part of a larger state trend, according to the story “IPOs Raise Region’s Profile” from the August 15 issue of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.

California is leading the nation with the number of companies preparing for an IPO, with 25 of the nation’s 140.

“From an economic standpoint, an IPO is great for job growth and successful IPO companies stay independent and support jobs,” Mark Sogomian, Ernst & Young’s IPO leader for the West Coast, told the business journal. “There is also an indirect impact in that an active IPO market sends a message of increased confidence in the economy, which has an impact on the larger business community.”

The second-quarter IPO Pipeline study by Ernst & Young LLP reported that the technology sector was the most active, followed by oil and gas, banking and finance and industrial products.

Electric cars are charging into the marketplace

By Jerry Hirsch and Tiffany Hsu
The Los Angeles Times
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Stalled for nearly a century, electric cars are about to move into the fast lane when the first of a new generation of vehicles reaches dealer showrooms next month.

Every major automaker plans some sort of electric or plug-in hybrid offering over the next several years, a wave of competing technologies reminiscent of the beginning of the automobile age.

Many of the new generation electric vehicles will be on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens to the public Friday at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Other alternative-fuel vehicles, such as Honda’s hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity, also will be showcased.

“Electric vehicles are finally real and not an R&D project,” said Mark Sogomian, a partner at Ernst & Young.

Clean-tech investment booms to $1.5 billion in second quarter 2010

By Tiffany Hsu
The Los Angeles Times
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There aren’t that many clean-tech deals being made in the U.S., but the ones that are making it through just came off a mighty fine quarter.

Electric car manufacturers and support companies especially. The big winner of the quarter was Palo Alto EV infrastructure firm Better Place, which landed $350 million in funding.

The Golden State also dominated, according to analysis of data from Dow Jones VentureSource.

“This might as well be a California report,” said Mark Sogomian, a partner and Los Angeles clean-tech leader at Ernst & Young. “Almost all of the companies are California-based. This just highlights how much activity there is in the state.”

Venture capital investment in clean-tech companies for the second quarter hit $1.5 billion — a 63.8% increase from the same quarter in 2009 and the highest amount since the third quarter of 2008, according to Ernst & Young.