Cleantech Angel Group NWEA On Pace to Break 2012 Investing Record

7/2/13Follow @bromano

Let’s hold off on the wake for early-stage cleantech investing in the Northwest. With more than $1.8 million invested so far in 2013, Northwest Energy Angels (NWEA) is on pace to surpass its record 2012.

The longest-tenured cleantech angel investing group in the country has bet on 10 companies through the first half of this year, counting follow-on investments. Six of the companies are based outside Washington state.

“We continue to be the angel group of choice for cleantech entrepreneurs from far beyond the Pacific Northwest, given our knowledge base, network and success in helping fund and grow great ideas and technologies into great companies,” says Byron McCann, NWEA co-chair, in a statement.

NWEA has invested or re-invested this year in companies including biochemicals maker Blue Marble Biomaterials, based in Missoula, MT; electric motorcycle maker Brammo, in Ashland, OR; solar energy inverter designer Empower Micro Systems, incubated at InnoSpring in Santa Clara, CA, which says it is the first U.S.-Chinese incubator; Seattle “conscious company” incubator Fledge; adjustable speed drive maker Flux Drive, based in Sumner, WA; Seattle sustainable remodeling company Green Canopy Homes; biomass-fired heater maker Greenwood Clean Energy, of Bellevue, WA; window energy efficiency company Indow Windows, based in Portland, OR; OndaVia, of Hayward, CA, which makes contaminant detection technology; and Portland-based one-wheeled electric scooter maker Ryno Motors.

The investment in the Fledge fund, in particular, represents a broadening of investment focus to new company incubation.

It’s not all good news, however. Hydrovolts, a Seattle maker of small hydroelectric turbines backed by NWEA, among others, ran out of cash earlier this year and appeared to be heading toward liquidation. One supplier attempting to collect payment tells Xconomy it has not heard from Hydrovolts since January. The final disposition of the company is unclear and attempts to reach it were unsuccessful.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

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