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Money Flowing To New Ideas In Energy:
Venture funding spikes to $445.1m

The Boston Globe, Aug. 26, 2006
By Robert Weisman

With rising energy prices stoking demand for new technologies, venture capital firms are showering attention, and hundreds of millions of dollars, on a field investors have long ignored: alternative energy.

Start-ups working with solar, battery, hydrogen, wind, and fuel cell technologies raised $445.1 million in venture funds nationally in the first six months of this year, 56.1 percent more than the $285.2 million raised by such companies in all of 2005, according to figures newly compiled by the National Venture Capital Association trade group.

In New England, venture investments in alternative energy companies spiked to $87.9 million in the first half of 2006, six times more than the $13.5 million invested all of last year.

At today’s higher energy prices, “a lot of the things that didn’t look economical in the past are starting to look more economical,” said Jeff Andrews, a partner at Atlas Venture in Waltham who’s been prowling for alternative energy investments.

Andrews said interest in the field has been heating up at venture firms across the country as soaring oil prices leave financially pinched businesses and consumers clamoring for alternatives. “You don’t have to look very far to see what the cost of energy is,” he said.

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