Big funding quarters in the fuel cell space have largely relied on massive financing rounds by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Bloom Energy, which has taken nearly $480M since the first quarter of 2011.
Fuel cells convert hydrogen and oxygen into functional electricity, water and heat. And venture capital investors have played a big role in financing the emergence of the fuel cell industry, deploying over $253M in capital across 21 deals to private companies specializing in fuel cell technology over the last year. But while YoY deal activity to the fuel cell industry has grown 40%, YoY funding has dipped nearly 50%, as shown in the graph below.
Hidden in the chart above is the impact of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Bloom Energy on overall fuel cell investments. Since Q1’11, Bloom Energy has raised nearly $480M from investors including Credit Suisse, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Enterprise Associates and German utility provider E.ON. That amount totals 57% of aggregate funding to fuel cells over the same time frame. The chart below highlights the imprint of four $100M+ financings to Bloom Energy on quarterly investment activity to fuel cell companies. Of the six quarters without funding rounds to Bloom Energy, only one, Q2’11, topped $50M.
While a funding spike has not followed any of Bloom’s massive rounds to date, a successful IPO by the heavily-funded company, rumored as early as late this year or early 2014, could provide some solid financing and exit momentum to the greater fuel cell ecosystem.