Bloom Energy

Bloom Energy still expects profits ... eventually

May 20, 2013: 10:24 AM ET

bloom_energyFuel-cell maker Bloom had a tough first quarter.

FORTUNE -- Last week we reported that fuel cell maker Bloom Energy Corp. had raised $130 million in new private equity funding led by an undisclosed investor. I still don't know who the investor is, but do now have a better idea of what he/she/it was buying into.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company posted $42 million of pro forma revenue and negative $61 million of pro forma operating income for Q1 2013, according to documents obtained by Fortune. Those figures are lower than Bloom results for both Q3 and Q4 2012.

Bloom also reports negative $1.03 billion in retained earnings, compared to a negative $873 million mark through Q3 2012. To date, it has raised more than $1.1 billion in venture capital funding, including past investments from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Enterprise Associates, Advanced Equities, DAG Ventures and Goldman Sachs (GS).

On the upside, Bloom also tells investors that remains "on track" to become profitable in the second half of 2013, and expects to return to positive gross margin in Q2. It also has signed a term sheet for a Japanese JV with Softbank.

Bloom declined to comment for this story, but here is what company CFO Bill Kurtz told us last November:

"Bloom Energy is pleased with the substantial progress we have made in 2012. On a pro-forma basis Bloom has become gross margin positive in 2012 and is on track with our goal to be profitable in 2013.  Bloom is operating with a fully funded business plan.  Bloom has experienced strong new and repeat customer orders as evidenced by recent announcements from AT&T, eBay and others."

So it's still sticking to that profitability plan, and Kurtz never actually promised that there wouldn't be a future gross margin hiccup. On the other hand, it's hard to understand why a company with a "fully-funded business plan" needed to raise another $130 million in outside capital...

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  • Exclusive: Bloom Energy raises $130 million

    Bloom Energy passes $1.1 billion in VC funding.

    FORTUNE -- Fuel cell maker Bloom Energy has raised $130 million in new venture capital funding, Fortune has learned from multiple sources.

    An unidentified new investor provided the first $100 million, while Credit Suisse (CS) provided the remaining $30 million. Existing investors did not participate in the round, which was structured as an extension to the company's Series G round that originally closed on MORE

    - May 10, 2013 2:54 PM ET
  • Advanced Equities breaks its silence

    Defunct broker-dealer finally contacts its clients.

    FORTUNE -- Yesterday I wrote a blog post titled: Dear Advanced Equities, please call your clients. It seemed that in the three weeks since AEI decided to cease operations, its clients had been unable to get any information on the status of their investments. Not just the dentists with $10,000 or $20,000 invested into companies like Bloom Energy or Fisker Automotive, but also those with millions MORE

    - Dec 6, 2012 11:01 AM ET
  • Exclusive: Bloom Energy's earnings

    Bloom privately reports $32 million Q3 loss.

    FORTUNE -- For years, the knock on fuel cell maker Bloom Energy Corp. has been that its boxes cost more to make than they cost to buy. Not exactly the sort of dynamic that would help Bloom make it up on volume.

    But perhaps things are finally about to change, after 10 years and nearly $1 billion in venture capital funding.

    Fortune recently obtained confidential documents MORE

    - Nov 14, 2012 8:01 AM ET
  • SEC hits Advanced Equities on Bloom deals

    What did Bloom Energy investors know, and from whom did they learn it?

    FORTUNE -- For several years, readers have sent sporadic emails about what they considered to be questionable dealings by Advanced Equities – a Chicago-based group best known for marketing large, later-stage venture capital rounds. Now the Securities & Exchange Commission is getting in on the act.

    Last week the SEC charged Advanced Equities and its co-founders Dwight Badger and MORE

    - Sep 24, 2012 11:11 AM ET
  • Bloom raising another $150 million

    Fuel cell maker tries to maintain its $2.7 billion valuation.

    FORTUNE -- Bloom Energy, the fuel cell maker that that VCs either love or hate, is in the midst of raising $150 million in new funding.

    News of the raise was first reported by Dow Jones, based on a marketing email that Fortune has also obtained. A first close is slated for next Friday.

    What's particularly interesting about this particular round is that it's MORE

    - Jun 8, 2012 11:40 AM ET
  • Bloom Energy worth nearly $3 billion

    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. MORE

    - Sep 15, 2011 1:05 PM ET
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