LA cleantech shows promise as incubator’s first company, 350Green, completes $5.2M exit

LA cleantech shows promise as incubator’s first company, 350Green, completes $5.2M exit

The city of Los Angeles is pushing hard to emerge as a leader in the clean tech space, and it just got a bit of validation after Car Charging Group completed its acquisition of 350Green, LA Cleantech Incubator’s first portfolio company, on Thursday.

After 350Green began building electric vehicle charging stations across the nation, Car Charging Group snatched it up to become the country’s largest independent charging network. The deal, which is valued at $5.2 million, was announced last year, but took several months to finalize.

350Green CEO Mariana Gerzanych credited LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI) with helping it get off the ground:

“Our success was a team effort, we would not have achieved as much as we did without the amazing help of the LACI team. After becoming the first company accepted into LACI in 2011, we received enormous support from the City of Los Angeles and key incubator partners that was critical to our success. Starting a business is not easy, and there’s nowhere else we would imagine starting a business than right here with the help of LACI.”

Created by the city in 2011, LACI recently announced that it will merge with sister organization CleanTech LA to become a single entity. The incubator has worked with 15 startups since launching and has a team of 40 mentors.

Late last month, the program rolled out a new fundraising bootcamp for startups. The lead banker for the Car Charging/350Green acquisition has since joined the incubator as its VP of development. LACI plans to open La Kretz Innovation Campus later this year. The 30,000 square-foot facility is located in LA’s so-called “Cleantech Corridor” and will house the program’s entrepreneurs and startups.

Cleantech is picking up energy outside of LA as well. Earlier this year, Facebook announced a deal with the Cleantech Group to promote clean energy on its social networking service. Google is also actively involved in initiatives to convince utility companies to sell renewable energy to companies.

Update: It’s worth noting that 350Green was reportedly in the midst of an investigation related to a contract to build charging stations in the area. The company provided the following statement:

One of 350Green’s networks in development was the Chicago project which called for the installation and operation of:  (i) 73 DC Fast, and (ii) 207 Level 2 chargers. 350Green successfully installed 26 Fast and 140 Level 2 charging stations, while the remainder are in inventory in Chicago.  The Chicago project was valued at $8.8 million, with $1.9 million from Federal cost-sharing grant to the City of Chicago and State of Illinois and the rest is covered through private capital.  To date 350Green has drawn $1.7 million from the city/state grant and has invested $4.6 million of private capital funds.

After clerical errors were discovered, as well as late payments to certain third party contractors (such as charging station installers) the City of Chicago commenced an investigation in June, 2012 into 350Green’s administration of the cost-sharing portion of the Chicago project.  In discussions with the City of Chicago’s in-house attorneys and after the relevant administrative staff responsible were replaced, 350Green has learned that the City of Chicago consents to 350Green’s:  (i) transfer of the Federal grant, and (ii) sale of the existing charging stations and inventory to a third party.  We also understand that the City of Chicago found no wrong-doing on the part of 350Green.

Related: Why Los Angeles could become the next technology epicenter

Image credit: iStockphoto

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