The Year’s Largest VC Deals (So Far)

Had a few free minutes, so figured I’d put together a list of the year’s largest venture capital deals (so far). Fairly liberal with the term “venture capital,” but that’s why this is an interim list rather than an official/final list.

Of note: Half of the ten companies could fall under the cleantech category. None of them are healthcare…

[slideshow]

[slide title=”Better Place”]
Better Place, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of electric vehicle services, raised $350 million in Series B funding at a $1.25 billion post-money valuation. HSBC Group led the round, and was joined by Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Lazard Asset Management and return backers Israel Corp., VantagePoint Venture Partners, Ofer Hi-Tech Holdings, Morgan Stanley Principal Investments and Maniv Energy Capital.

Better Place previously raised $200 million in October 2007. The company plans to develop an electric car network that will lease out batteries that can be exchanged at its own charging stations by all-electric car owners.

[slide title=”2: Pierpoint Securities”]
Pierpont Securities LLC launched as a government securities broker-dealer, with $200 million in capital commitments from General Atlantic and Stone Point Capital. Company management has committed an additional $20 million.

Sure this doesn’t look like a traditional venture deal, but Pierpoint is indeed a startup. Moreover, as Better Place proves, capital-intensivity no longer is inverse to venture legitimacy.

[slide title=”3: ExteNet Systems”]
ExteNet Systems Inc., a Lisle, Ill.-based network infrastructure company, raised $128.4 million in new funding. Soros Fund Management and SBA Communications were joined on the deal by return backers Centennial Ventures, Columbia Capital, Sevin Rosen Funds, CenterPoint Ventures and Palomar Ventures.

The company previously raised around $64 million since 2004.

[slide title=”4: Fisker Automotive”]
Fisker Automotive, an Irvine, Calif.-based electric vehicle maker, raised $115.3 million in new VC funding. Backers include A123 Systems, Ace Investments and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The A123 investment was $23 million, and came as part of an agreement whereby A123 will provide power packs for a rechargeable luxury car Fisker plans to launch later this year (Fisker Karma).

Fisker previously raised more than than $160 in VC funding, from firms like Kleiner Perkins, Eco-Drive (Capital) Partners, Palo Alto Investors and Al Ghaffara Investment Co. It also recently secured a $528 million low-cost loan from the Department of Energy, which was conditioned on the company raising additional private equity.

[slide title=”5: Yelp”]
Elevation Partners agreed to invest up to $100 million into Yelp, a San Francisco-based local search and review site. This includes an initial investment of $25 million in Series E stock, with the remainder to come via a planned purchase of shares from vested employees and other shareholders.

Yelp previously raised around $31 million, from firms like Benchmark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and DAG Ventures.

[slide title=”6: UStream.tv”]
UStream, a Mountain View, Calif.-based provider of an interactive video broadcast platform, raised $20 million in Series B funding from Softbank, at a post-money valuation of approximately $145 million. The deal rises to #6 because Softbank also has the option to invest another $55 million, while UStream says it plans to expand the round via “pending” commitments from other investors in Asia and the U.S.

Ustream previously raised over $11 million from DCM Capital and Band of Angels. 

[slide title=”7: SolarCity”]
SolarCity Corp., a Foster City, Calif.-based provider of solar energy system installation and design, raised $60 million from PG&E Corp. The deal is described as “tax equity financing” for solar installations for U.S. homes and businesses.

SolarCity previously raised around $74 million from firms like First Solar Inc. and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

[slide title=”8: BridgeLux”]
BridgeLux, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based developer solid-state lighting solutions, raised $50 million in Series D funding. VantagePoint Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by fellow return backers DCM, El Dorado Ventures, Chrysalix Energy, VentureTech Alliance and Harris & Harris Group.

The company previously raised around $95 million since 2005.

[slide title=”9: Petra Solar”]
Petra Solar, a South Plainfield, N.J.-based developer of power electronics for solar energy systems, raised $40 million in second-round funding.

Craton Equity Partners and Espírito Santo Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by return backers Element Partners, Blue Run Ventures, OnPoint Technologies and Kuwait’s National Technology Enterprises Company.

[slide title=”10: Nordic Windpower”]
Nordic Windpower, a Berkeley, Calif.-based maker of wind turbines, raised $38 million in Series C funding. Khosla Ventures led the round, and was joined by New Enterprise Associates, Novus Energy Partners, I2BF Management, Pulsar Energy Capital and return backer Impax Asset Management.

The company previously raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Impax, Goldman Sachs and NBT AS.[/slideshow]