Zipcar, a car-sharing service in such cities as San Francisco, New York and Toronto, has raised $20 million from GE Commercial Financing Fleet Services, the company said this week. Cambridge, Mass.-based ZipCar said it will use the money to double its fleet of 1,500 cars within the next year and expand into other urban and international markets. Founded in 2000 and profitable, the business relies on the use of wireless technology to let members--as many as 55,000--reserve a car locally, use their "zipcard" to unlock its door, and drive away.
Venture investments into companies concentrating on clean technologies--alternative energy, water filtration systems--hit $513 million in the first quarter, a 52.9 percent increase over the same period the year before and a slight increase from the fourth quarter.
The average deal size also went up to $8.28 million, up 16.7 percent from a year ago. In all, sixty seven deals were consummated in the first quarter, down from the fourth quarter, but up 37 percent from the same time a year ago.
??The $357 million invested in energy accounted for nearly 70% of all cleantech Q1 investments and … Read more
China is, environmentally speaking, a mess. Only 19 percent of the people living there have access to tap water, said C.S. Kiang, a professor of Peking University speaking at the China-U.S. Climate Symposium at U.C. Berkeley this week. The water in six of the 27 largest cities do not meet state standards.
Roughly 1.5 million new cases of bronchitis are reported annually, he added. And one of the most ominous developments has been the cancer villages. These are villages that now report high levels of cancer among citizens. The tally isn't being kept by the … Read more
Venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has announced that it will award $100,000 annually best technology or policy innovation in green technology. A panel of five independent judges will select and announce the first winner in this fall. MIT and the University of California have similar contests.
The firm also announced it has made an announcement in Altra, a biofuels company. Altra wants to build five biofuels plants, which will have the capacity to produce 175 million gallons of ethanol and 80 million gallons of biodiesel each year. The company has already garnered $50 million in funding.
Two … Read more
Intel has tried to become a big name in communications chips for years, but it may soon try to hand it off, chip analysts speculated earlier this week.
The money-losing comms group and the flash memory group may be spun out of Intel as the company reorganizes for the future, said a trio of analysts--Mark Edelstone, Joe Osha and Dan Niles--speaking at a Churchill Club event on Monday. (Ashlee Vance of The Register attended the event and reported on it.)
The next tech boom may involve using IT to develop clean sources of energy, according to Goldman Sachs' Bob Hormats.
"This decade is a decade for developing very innovative ways of addressing our energy crisis," said Hormats, vice chairman at Goldman and a former member of the Bureau of Economics and Business Affairs in the Department of State under Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.
Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Labs have discovered that gold atoms will form hollow cages that, conceivably, could house other atoms. Potentially, this could expand how gold is used to manufacture nanotechnology products or deliver medicines inside a person's body.
The gold cages are formed from around 16 to 18 atoms. The atoms form triangles and the triangles form a sphere. Carbon will form similar spheres, but it takes around 60 atoms to form a Buckyball, a sphere of pure carbon.
??This is the first time that a hollow cage made of metal has been experimentally proved,?? said Lai-Sheng … Read more
CORONADO, Calif..--Over the next few years, iRobot's primary customers could include the U.S. military and nursing homes.
The armed forces are already using iRobot's PackBots in Iraq to remotely detonate IEDs (improvised explosive devices). However, the overextended state of today's armed forces could require even more robot tools in the future, Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot, said at the Future in Review conference here.
CORONADO, Calif. - Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs doesn't see sophisticated voice-recognition software becoming a reality within the next few years, he said at the Future in Review conference Monday.
"The ones that work well now are the ones that have some kinds of restraints," Jacobs said in kicking off the conference with a discussion on the future of the mobile phone. Conference chairman Mark Anderson tried to pin Jacobs down on the likely time frame for 10,000-word or even 5,000-word voice recognition systems, but he wouldn't bite. Regional accents and dialects make it very … Read more
Ethanol will provide up to 5 percent of all motor fuel used in the United States by 2007 and up to 25 percent by 2012 if current strategies can be enacted, according to U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman, who spoke at MIT this week.
The key right now is coming up with better plants for producing ethanol. Corn cobs, the main plant used for producing ethanol in the U.S., aren't incredibly efficient as a fuel source, according to, among others, Steven Chu, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Scientists instead need to look at … Read more