Kleiner makes first water investment

According to VentureBeat’s report on 31 Jul 2009, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has backed its first water-related cleantech company, Applied Process Technology (APT). This is a significant milestone for the firm and a sign that floodgates may finally open in water investing in the US. APT makes water remediation technology that removes agricultural nitrates from well water.

Apart from VentureBeat’s report, there’s no other news related to this investment. Websites on both Kleiner and APT did not have any press release on it. Furthermore, Kleiner is the first major firm to take interest in the private company APT, reported by VentureBeat. It previously raised $1 million and hoping for $7 million more, according to a regulatory filing with the SEC. APT claims it has already brought in $10.5 million in equity.

Europe has been leading the pack in the water space while US focuses on cleantech investing on renewable energy, transportation applications and smart grid. Few firms in the same tier as Kleiner have invested in water. Mayfield Fund and Sequoia Capital do not invest in cleantech outside of the energy space.

Comment: It is significant for more VC firms to be involve in the water industry and invest in water infrastructures and technologies. Water crisis, as many doomsayers say, is more acute than energy crisis. We can live without electricity, although somewhat more primitive, but we can’t live without water. Water is really underpriced and underappreciated in the US (hence less attention to the water space there?). The fact that such a big VC firm like Kleiner starts to take notice of the water industry speaks about either its foresight of the good investment in the industry or the severity of the water problems in the US.

Company overview:
Applied Process Technology, Inc. develops and manufactures water treatment technologies for drinking water, industrial process water, wastewater, environmental remediation, and homeland security markets. Its products include HiPOx that performs multiple treatment functions, such as disinfection, taste/odor/color removal, and volatile organic compounds or micro contaminant destruction; PulseOx that injects oxidizing agents directly into a subsurface formation to treat groundwater and saturated soils; and Membrane Bio-film Reactor that removes oxidized contaminants from water through microbial catalyzed reduction. The company provides preliminary engineering analysis, laboratory/bench scale testing, pilot/field testing, equipment installation and start-up, and operations and maintenance services. Applied Process Technology, Inc. was founded in 1996 and is based in Pleasant Hill, California.


Key Personnel:
Terry Applebury, Co-Founder, President & CEO
Dr Reid Bowman, Co-Founder, VP of R&D & Chief Technology Officer
Douglas Gustafson, Co-Founder, Director of Field Development
Douglas A. Liddie, Executive VP & COO