Bloom Energy worth nearly $3 billion

September 15, 2011, 9:05 PM UTC

Bloom Energy powers up with big new funding round.

Fuel cell maker Bloom Energy has not received any Department of Energy grants, but it sure does keep raking in the private financing. Fortune has learned that the Silicon Valley-based company recently raised $150 million in new venture capital at a $2.7 billion pre-money valuation.

Impressive for a company that receives eye rolls from virtually every cleantech VC who hasn’t yet invested in it. Basically, they don’t believe fuel cells can be economically viable without government subsidies. They also argue that users who want to “get off the grid” really just want to swap grids, since Bloom boxes run off of natural gas.

Bloom investors, on the other hand, insist there is a special sauce that makes Bloom boxes competitive without subsidy — in a way that no other fuel cell maker has been so far. The company also has begun offering what amounts to energy-as-a-service, which allows customers to sign long-term contracts without paying upfront for the actual boxes.

Part of this might just be investors talking their book, but clearly Bloom backers believe. This new round comes at a significant step-up to its prior round, and the deal was marketed as a “pre-IPO” round. Of course, so was its last round… so grain of salt on that bit.

To date, Bloom has raised well over $450 million from firms like Advanced Equities, Apex Venture Partners, DAG Ventures, GSV Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mobius Venture Capital, New Enterprise Associates, SunBridge Partners and Goldman Sachs.

No comment from Bloom, which typically doesn’t discuss its financings.

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