Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Entrepreneur Trades Sex for Solar

From Private Equity Week via PE Hub:
As an entrepreneur, Gary Kremen knows something about growth industries.In the early 1990s, he had enough foresight about the porn industry’s online potential to register the domain Sex.com. Later, he moved into online dating, founding dating site Match.com.

These days, however, the San Francisco-based serial founder is all about solar. Clean Power Finance, which Kremen founded in 2006 several months after selling Sex.com for a reported $14 million, last week closed a $6.9 million Series A funding round. The round was co-led by venture firms Claremont Creek Ventures and Clean Pacific Ventures. Sand Hill Angels, an angel investment group in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Kremen also participated.

“It feels a lot cleaner,” Kremen said of his new industry, compared to owning the rights to Sex.com. Kremen said the 12-person company will use the funds to further develop its software platform for solar installation financing and to expand into other energy sectors.

Kremen, Clean Power’s chairman, estimated that currently about 1,000 installers of solar power equipment nationwide are using Clean Power Finance’s system, which includes tools to generate quotes, estimate energy bill savings, locate third-party financing, and apply for government rebates.

Clean Power is one of several startups offering financing applications for solar installations. San Jose, Calif.-based OnGrid Solar, develops software and provides tools for estimating energy savings from solar panels....MORE

We last touched base with Mr. Kremen in April '08's "Sex.com; Match.com and Financing Solar":

Here come the solar tech financiers

Joseph Brakohiapa is thrilled to hear about how scientists are making solar cells more efficient at converting light to electricity. But he'd much rather be making a sale of solar panels.

Brakohiapa is the CEO of Clean Power Finance, one of a growing number of young companies that are spending their brain power on software and financing, rather than photovoltaics....MORE

HT: earth2tech

From Mother Jones:

Mr. Match.com Pimps Solar

Gary Kremen sat in his San Francisco office on a winter afternoon, shouting on his cell phone and taking frequent, inexplicable swigs from a bottle of lemon juice. Kremen is 44 and stout, with a raspy voice and an inability to sit still. He founded Match.com in 1993 and ran the porn-marketing site Sex.com before selling it off for a reported $14 million in 2006. Lately, he has been sinking a chunk of his wealth and most of his energy into a new, slightly more altruistic startup called Clean Power Finance.

The new company, says Kremen, "is all about bringing solar to mass market"—making the case for going solar to average Americans, rather than just selling its virtues to what he calls "green liberals," "national-security types," and "utility haters." He wants to make installing solar panels on your roof as mundane as buying a car or any other big-ticket item. "If we're really going to get solar working, it can't be a green sell. It's got to be an economic sell," he says. "I'm all about 'green is cool.' But that's not big enough.">>>MORE