Deals

Top 15 venture capital deals of 2012

harvest-power

8. Harvest Power: $112 million

Harvest Power produces a wide variety of soils, mulches, and organic fertilizers, and it attracted a stellar round of funding worth about $112 million in April. True North Venture Partners led the investment with American Refining and Biochemical, participating with existing investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, DAG Ventures, and Generation Investment Management.

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9. Elevance Renewable Sciences: $104.3 million

Elevance Rewewable Sciences is yet another science-focused company that raised some serious cash this year. It transforms natural materials like soybean, canola, palm, and corn oils into specialty chemicals. Companies use these materials to produce things like wax, detergents, and biofuels. Its $104.3 million round was raised by Total Energy Ventures International and Lacustrine Limited, a Malaysian investor.

donuts

10. Donuts: $100 million

Sweetly named startup Donuts has a lofty goal of being a new registry for generic top-level domains that go beyond staples like .com, .net, and .org. Since it will be bidding on new — and most likely expensive — domains, it needs a lot of cash to buy and sell domains. So it raised a massive $100 million round of funding led by Austin Ventures, with participation by Adams Street Partners, Emergence Capital, TL Ventures, Generation Partners, Stahurricane, and others.

bloom-energy

11. Bloom Energy: $100 million

Bloom Energy manufactures green fuel cells. These power generators convert natural gas to electricity, which is a much cleaner way to produce energy than, saying burning up huge piles of coal. It also claims its products can create a decentralized power source that is accessible when your main power source goes out. For example, Bloom’s home page touts Hurricane Sandy as a recent instance where electricity failed for some businesses but gas lines were unaffected. This practical approach to energy is perhaps why the company attracted $100 million of a potential $150 million from Apex Venture Partners and undisclosed firm.

pinterest

12. Pinterest: $100 million

Pinterest, now the third most popular social network in the U.S. after Facebook and Twitter, had a hard time getting VCs’ attention when it first started out. But it didn’t appear to have much trouble raising a new $100 million round in May. The round was led by Japanese web retailer Rakuten, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, Glencoe Capital, and other angel investors. As 2012 has continued, Pinterest has gained more traction. Recently, it added pin previews inside Twitter and opened its doors to business accounts.

castlight

13. Castlight Health: $100 million

Castlight Health, one of two health care companies to make this list, dubs itself as “the leader in health care transparency.” It offers consumers and companies comprehensive data about the price and quality of health care, ideally to help them save money while also improving their care. The company attracted a stellar $100 million investment in May from T. Rowe Price, Redmile Group, Allen & Company, Maverick Capital, Oak Investment Partners, U.S. Venture Partners, and Venrock Associates.

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14. GitHub: $99.5 million

GitHub, easily one of the most exciting startups of the year, caught a lot of attention in July for raising nearly $100 million for a Series A round. (It could be the biggest Series A ever.) Investors Andreessen Horowitz and SV Angel clearly believe in GitHub’s mission of supplying social coding tools to developers. The company has grown quite popular since its launch in 2008, and it has more than 1.7 million members who have shared more than 3 million code repositories. It recently hired Vlado Herman, the former CFO of Yelp, to help it manage its huge round of funds.

conformis

15. ConforMIS: $89 million

While developing medical devices for osteoarthritis treatment and joint damage isn’t terribly sexy, it’s incredibly smart considering the growing population of old folks in the United States. ConforMIS, a leading maker of such devices, raised a whopping $89 million in January from AGC Equity Partners, Axel Johnson, and other investors. Since its founding in 2004, ConforMIS claims to have accumulated “more than 350 patents and patent applications in the areas of imaging software, image processing, implant design, surgical techniques, instrumentation, and manufacturing, spanning knee, hip, shoulder, spine, and small joints.” Recently, the company appointed a new CFO to help it better manage its fat stacks.

Photos: Bundle of U.S. 100 dollar bills via HamsterMan/Shutterstock, Plants growing in lab via FikMik/Shutterstock, Green computer code via Soulart/Shutterstock. Other images courtesy Fisker Automotive, SquareTrade, Square, Sapphire Energy, Box, Drilling Info, Harvest Power, Fab, Donuts, Pinterest, Castlight Health, and ConfirMIS.

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