Branson Bets on Green Lamps
Sir Richard Branson, the British adventurer and entrepreneur extraordinaire, is making his second major green-technology investment in less than a month.
Branson's venture capital firm Virgin Fuels, along with Gemini Israel Funds, Israel Cleantech Ventures and Israeli investor Altshuler Shaham, is injecting $9 million into Metrolight Inc., a Brentwood, Tenn., maker of smart electronic ballasts for high-intensity discharge lamps.
High-intensity discharge, or HID, lamps are nothing new. In fact, 22% of all lights in the world are estimated to be HID lights. They are mostly used to brighten large spaces, and can be found everywhere from street-lighting to factories to big-box retailers. What Metrolight does is take this existing technology and make it longer-lasting and energy efficient.
"Metrolight's products help customers reduce up to 65% of lighting energy costs, double lamp life, drastically reduce maintenance costs and take full control of their lighting systems," according to a company press release.Virgin Fuels' investment in Metrolight is another step in Branson's effort to rebrand himself as the patron saint of green investing. In 2006, he invested $400 million in Virgin Fuels. He also pledged to donate all profits from his various transportation businesses to the effort to fight global warming -- an amount that could exceed $3 billion in 10 years. According to Shai Weiss, managing partner of Virgin Fuels, Metrolight is a good choice for its growing portfolio of diversified green technology investments. "Our sweet spot is with investments that are ready for growth and expansion and with products that have a short time to market, rather than early-stage technologies," Weiss says. "Metrolight fits this model perfectly."
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV