Sustainable Energy

Companies To Watch: Private Companies

Company: Tesla Motors
teslamotors.com
Year founded: 2003
Funding Raised: $278 million
Daimler, Valor Equity Partners, Technology Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DBL, Westly Group, Compass Venture Partners

This startup beat the major players to the punch by bringing the first highway-ready all-electric car to market, but the car remains a luxury item at more than $100,000. With a $456 million loan from the government, Tesla now hopes to introduce a more modestly priced electric sedan.

Company: EnerG2
energ2.com
Year founded: 2003
Funding Raised:$11 million
OVP Venture Partners, Firelake Capital Management, Yaletown, WRF Capital

This story is part of our November/December 2009 Issue
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

Recently received $21.3 million in stimulus funding to build a facility that will manufacture electrodes and other materials for ultracapacitors, which can store and release energy faster than batteries. Better ultracapacitors could enable carmakers to cut the size and cost of battery packs used in plug-in hybrid vehicles by as much as half.

Company: Synthetic Genomics
syntheticgenomics.com
Year founded: 2005
Funding Raised: Undisclosed
Draper Fisher Jurvetson, BP, Meteor Group, Biotechonomy, Plenus, S.A. de C.V.

Founded by genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter, Synthetic Genomics has partnered with ExxonMobil and BP on projects that would use genetic engineering to make cheap, cleaner fuels from algae and coal-bed methane.

Company: Range Fuels
rangefuels.com
Year founded: 2004
Funding Raised: Over $100 million
Passport Capital, BlueMountain, Khosla Ventures, Leaf Clean Energy Company, PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund

Produces cellulosic ethanol using a thermochemical process that turns biomass into synthetic gas and then liquid fuel. The company is set to open the United States’ first commercial cellulosic-ethanol plant in Georgia next year.

Company: Qteros
qteros.com
Year founded: 2006
Funding Raised:$30 million
Battery Ventures, BP, Camros Capital, Long River Ventures, Quantum Group of Funds, Venrock, Valero

Uses a unique type of microbe to convert biomass into ethanol in one step, potentially replacing a multistep process that uses expensive enzymes to break down cellulose.

Company: Advanced Transport Systems
atsltd.co.uk
Year founded: 1995
Funding Raised: Over $25 million
BAA

Spun out of the University of Bristol in 1995, the company is developing a personal rapid-transit system that uses less energy than other forms of mass transit. The first version of the technology is currently in operational testing at Heathrow Airport.

Company: Mascoma
mascoma.com
Year founded: 2005
Funding Raised: $100 million
Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Flagship Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, Marathon

Is commercializing a cheap one-step process for producing cellulosic ethanol, using specially developed yeasts and bacteria. Late last year the company started producing ethanol at a demonstration facility; it hopes to break ground on its first commercial production facility next year.

Company: Better Place
betterplace.com
Year founded: 2007
Funding Raised: Over $300 million
VantagePoint Venture Partners, Israel Corporation, Israel Cleantech Ventures, Morgan Stanley, Acorns to Oaks II

Is building charging stations for electric vehicles worldwide and also hopes to open chains of battery-swapping stations, but this will require car companies to standardize their batteries.

Company: Fisker Automotive
fiskerautomotive.com
Year founded: 2007
Funding Raised: Over $150 million
Palo Alto Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

With a half-billion-dollar loan from the U.S. Department of Energy recently secured, production of a luxury plug-in hybrid, the Karma, is expected to begin next year. The company is also working to bring a more affordable model to market.

Company: Systra Group
systra.com
Year founded: 1995
Funding Raised: Funded by revenue
RATP Group, SCNF Group

Constructs subway and rail systems throughout the world–including what will be the world’s largest automated light rail, currently under construction in Dubai.

Get stories like this before anyone else with First Look.

Subscribe today
Already a Premium subscriber? Log in.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Sustainable Energy

Can we sustainably provide food, water, and energy to a growing population during a climate crisis?

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.
  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look: exclusive early access to important stories, before they’re available to anyone else

    Insider Conversations: listen in on in-depth calls between our editors and today’s thought leaders

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.