Biofuels, materials raise $1.374B in equity in past 12 months

February 15, 2012 |

33 equity transactions, averaging $40M – who got what, for what, from whom – what’s hot now?

In Florida, Biofuels Digest reported that advanced biofuels and biomaterials companies raised $1.374 B in equity financing in the past 12 months, based on deal flow reported in the Digest’s daily newsletter and online news service.

Overall, the Digest reported 33 transactions, including five successful IPOs, in eight categories.

The largest equity raise of the year was $227 million raised by Solazyme in its IPO. Other notable equity raises included $123M raised by Gevo and $150M raised by KiOR in their IPOs, a $72M raise by Renewable Energy Group in its IPO last month, and private rounds of $75 million by Fulcrum Bioenergy, $70 million by Joule Unlimited, $60 million by Enerkem, $50 million by Elevance Renewable Sciences, and $50 million by Renmatix.

Among categories with more than one equity raise in the past year, advanced fermentation technologies recorded the highest raise per transaction, at $57.24 million, primarily owing to the two successful IPOs from Solazyme and Gevo. Thermocatalytic technologies, including KiORs large IPO, averaged $51.14 million in seven transactions.

Category Raised Deals Avg. size
Advanced fermentation $687.00 12 $57.25
Hybrid gasification-fermentation $39.00 2 $19.50
Thermocatalytic $358.00 7 $51.14
Cellulosic sugars $50.00 1 $50.00
Crop technologies $111.00 8 $13.88
XTL $45.00 2 $22.50
Biocomposite $12.50 1 $12.50
Transesterifcation $72.00 1 $72.00

Advanced fermentation – $687M

In January, LanzaTech closed its Series C round with new investment totaling US $55.8 million led by the Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund. New investors include Petronas Technology Ventures Sdn Bhd, the venture arm of Petronas, the national oil company of Malaysia, and Dialog Group, a leading Malaysian integrated specialist technical services provider to the oil, gas and petrochemical industry. Specific investments in the round were not disclosed by the company. Existing investors Khosla Ventures, Qiming Venture Partners and K1W1 also participated in the round. To date, the company has raised more than $85 million

In July, OPX Biotechnologies announced that it raised $36.5 million in its Series C investment round. US Renewables Group led the C-Round investor syndicate, which also included new investor DBL Investors with participation by existing investors Mohr Davidow Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, Altira Group and X/Seed Capital. USRG managing director Jonathan Koch has joined the OPXBIO Board of Directors. To date, OPXBIO has raised $60 million with venture investors.

In May, BioAmber, a developer of bio-based succinic acid, raised $45 million in a Series B financing that will accelerate the commercialization of succinic acid and modified PBS (polybutylene succinate, a renewable, biodegradable polymer). The round was led by NAXOS Capital Partners and included Mitsui & Co, Sofinnova Partners, and the Cliffton Group. Proceeds will fund ongoing development work in the field of succinic acid, including the second generation organism being developed with Cargill, the technology licensed from DuPont that converts succinic acid to 1,4-butanediol (BDO).

In May, Cobalt Technologies announced that it had closed a $20M Series D funding round.  The round was led by The Whittemore Collection Ltd., the investment vehicle of Parsons & Whittemore, formerly one of the world’s largest manufacturers of market pulp and builder of some 60 pulp mills in 28 countries.
All of Cobalt’s current venture investors also participated, including Pinnacle Ventures, Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Life Sciences Partners, @Ventures, Harris & Harris and Burrill and Company.

In July, Elevance Renewable Sciences raised $50 million in a Reg D capital round with undisclosed investors. The company, which last raised $100 million in a capital round completed in December, declined to state use of proceeds. But the company is scheduled to start construction later this year on a $225 million project in Natchez, Mississippi.

In June, Avantium completed a $36M million financing round with new investors Sofinnova Partners, Aster Capital and De Hoge Dennen as well as existing investors Aescap Venture, Capricorn Cleantech Fund, ING Corporate Investments and Navitas Capital.

In May, Solazyme netted $227M in their IPO.

In March, Gevo raised $123.3 million in their IPO.

In December, Alta Vista Securities announced they had closed a $7M joint venture for three biofuel plants in the Philippines with Pacific Biofuels.  Each plant will have a capacity to process 80,000 tons of agricultural waste per year, which will then produce about 37,800,000 liters of total biofuels products comprising of 30,240,000 liters of mixed alcohol and about 7,560,000 liters of LPG.

In December, TMO Renewables announced that it completed a £7.6 round ($11M) of financing. Taken in combination with £4.6m raised in January 2010, the proceeds will serve will serve as working capital as the company moves towards commercialization.

In January, Joule Unlimited announced the closing of a $70 million third round of funding, bringing its total to just over $110 million raised to date. The round included investments from both new and prior undisclosed institutional and private sources that joined Flagship Ventures, Joule’s founding venture capital investor.

In October, Plaxica raised a further £5m ($8M) in equity funding from Imperial Innovations, Invesco Perpetual and NESTA Investments. Plaxica has raised approximately £10m to date from its investors.

Hybrid gasification – fermentation – $39M

In October, ZeaChem announced it raised $19 million in Series C financing, led by Birchmere Ventures, and partner Sean D.S. Sebastian has joined the ZeaChem Board of Directors. Follow on investment was provided by existing investors Firelake Capital, Globespan Capital Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, PrairieGold Venture Partners and Spring Ventures.

In August, Coskata raised $20M in a Series D round of financing.  The major investors from previous rounds participated, including The Blackstone Group, Khosla Ventures, Total Energy Ventures International (part of Total, one of the world’s major Oil and Gas groups), ATV, Globespan Capital Partners, General Motors, Arancia, and Sumitomo. Coskata plans a final close of the transaction in Q4 of 2011.

Gasification – thermo-catalytic – Fischer-Tropsch – Pyrolysis – $358M

In July, InEnTec converted itself from an LLC to a corporation under the laws of the State of Delaware, and has filed a Form D with the SEC disclosing a $20 million capital raise, with a goal of $69 million.

In June, Enerkem had closed a $60 million financing round that includes Valero Energy Corp. who joins existing investors Waste Management, Rho Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures and Cycle Capital, who have each invested in the new equity round.

In June, KiOR raised $150 million in its IPO.

In April, Frontline BioEnergy announced that it has completed its Series B financing, and a set of transactions with SGC Energia that will bring new capital investment to Frontline, an agreement for SGC Energia to license Frontline gasification and gas conditioning technologies and a multi-year contract for Frontline to provide a range of engineering services to support SGC Energia.

In March, CoolPlanetBioFuels announced that Google Ventures has joined its $20 million Series B funding round.Google’s investment was undisclosed, though we note that previous reports focused on an $8 million Series B round, suggesting that Google Ventures invested as much as $12 million into the venture.

In February 2011, Fulcrum Bioenergy announced that it has closed a $75 million Series C financing. A portion of the financing will be used to fund the equity capital for the company’s Sierra BioFuels Plant, a commercial-scale production facility designed to convert household garbage to  ethanol, renewable electricity and other high value chemical products.

In February 2011, the Oxford Catalysts Group has raised £21 million ($33M) before expenses from the conditional placing of 26,250,000 new shares, which will be used to accelerate the Group’s ongoing transition from a research and development organisation to a commercial product company.

Cellulosic sugars – $50M

In January, BASF announced plans to invest $30 million in the US technology firm Renmatix, as part of Renmatix’ $50 million Series C investment round.

Crop technologies – $111M

In January, Algae.Tec announced that a A$5M ($5M) Placement through Patersons Securities Limited had been successfully completed. The company announced last week that it had signed a binding MOU for a 50/50 equity joint venture with Shandong Kerui Group Holding, for the construction, in Dongying (Shandong province) of an 8.7 million gallons (33 million liter) algae biofuels facility. The proposed project would also generate 33,000 tones of biomass per year.

In December, NexSteppe raised $14 million in Series B Funding.  The new round of funding was led by Braemar Energy Ventures, and as a result, Dennis Costello, Partner at Braemar, has joined the company’s Board of Directors. NexSteppe will use the proceeds from the round to scale up its sweet sorghum, high biomass sorghum and switchgrass breeding programs, and to advance its first products toward commercialization.

In October, Chromatin announced completion of a $10 million first closing of its Series D financing round that included two strategic investors — BP Ventures and Unilever Technology Ventures — as well as three investors who participated in earlier rounds of financing: Quantitative Investment Holdings, the Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, and Illinois Ventures.

In October, Synthetic Genomics and Mexico-based Plenus announced the formation of a new company, Agradis. The privately held agricultural biotechnology company will focus on developing and commercializing products to sustainably improve crop production efficiency using new advances in genomics and plant breeding. Agradis has also announced the closing of a $20 million Series A financing round which will be used to establish the company infrastructure and to support product development and commercialization.

In August, Aurora Algae raised another $22 million, bringing its total fund raise to $72 million so far. The company has moved away from being a biofuels pure play to focusing on nutraceuticals. The newest funding round will go towards the building of its first commercial scale plant in Australia. The company is currently running trials at its pilot plant there. Greg Bafalis, Aurora CEO, stated, “Biofuels will eventually come, but they shouldn’t be your focus now.”

In April, seed breeding company Kaiima raised $18 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and current investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and DFJ Tamir Fishman Ventures Ltd., bring in a total of $26 million in financing, to enhance its Clean Gene Multiplication technology.

In March, Solix Biofuels announced it had secured more than $16 million from Bohemian Ventures, The Southern Ute Alternative Energy Fund and I2BF Global Ventures, as the first part of its Series B financing round. The new funding will drive the commercialization of Solix’s industrial algae growth system, utilizing Solix’s proprietary, high-productivity photobioreactors.

In February 2011, Rosetta Green closed an initial public offering which raised gross proceeds of 21,900,960 NIS ($6.06 million).

XTL – $45M

In December, Agilyx raised $25 million in series-C funding led by Keating Capital, and the startup has already raised funds from Waste Management, venture firm Kleiner Perkins, French oil giant Total, and investors at Chrysalix Energy, Saffron Hill Ventures and Reference Capital.

In October, Siluria attracted $20 million for a technology platform to convert methane to chemicals, plastics, and fuels. Siluria’s Series B financing was led by the U.K. based  Wellcome Trust, joining Siluria’s founding investors Alloy Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Lux Capital, and Presidio Ventures in this Series B.

Biocomposite – $12.5M

In June, Cereplast entered into a Securities Purchase Agreement with select institutional investors. Under the terms of the purchase agreement, the company will raise $12.5 million in an offering of 7% senior subordinated convertible notes due June 1, 2016.

Transesterification – $72M

In January, Renewable Energy Group raised $72 million in its IPO.

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