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Summary:

Vinod Khosla, the 52-year venture capitalist and founder of Khosla Ventures and Sun Microsystems, is leading Silicon Valley’s biofuel gold rush. Controversial to some (corn ethanol critics) and put on a pedestal by others (venture investors that follow his lead), he’s made at least 10 biofuel […]

Vinod Khosla, the 52-year venture capitalist and founder of Khosla Ventures and Sun Microsystems, is leading Silicon Valley’s biofuel gold rush. Controversial to some (corn ethanol critics) and put on a pedestal by others (venture investors that follow his lead), he’s made at least 10 biofuel bets in recent years. While biofuels are facing a backlash at the moment — and Khosla himself drives a Lexus Hybrid — Khosla has invested significant money into supporting the industry.

Company Funding Technology Founded CEO
Cilion
Goshen, Calif.
$200M, Khosla Ventures, Western Milling, Virgin Fuels, Ron Burkle, The Yucaipa Companies Converts corn into ethanol to power cars and trucks. 2006 Mark L. Noetzel, President and CEO
Hawaii BioEnergy
Honolulu
Khosla Ventures, Finistere Ventures Researching the development of ethanol plants on Hawaiian islands. 2006 NA
Mascoma Corporation
Cambridge, Mass.
$39M, Khosla Ventures, Flagship Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Vantage Point Venture Partners, Atlas Venture, Pinnacle Ventures Producer of biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass using microorganisms and enzymes. 2006 Bruce A. Jamerson
RangeFuels
Broomfield, Colo.
Undisclosed round from Khosla, plus a $75M grant from DOE. Is in “fundraising mode” with IPO dreams in 2008 Uses a thermochemical process to turn biomass into synthetic gas and then fuel 2006 CEO Mitch Mandich
Coskata Energy
Warrenville, Ill.
stealthmode
Gevo
Pasadena, CA
Reported as $10M, Series B, Khosla Ventures, Virgin Fuels (specifically Virgin Green Fund) An enzyme process, developed at Caltech, that convert biomass to next-gen biofuels like butanol, which can be used in the existing petroleum supply chain. 2005 Patrick Gruber
LS9
San Carlos, Calif.
$20 million, Series B, Khosla Ventures, Flagship Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners Uses synthetic biology to develop biofuels from traditional feedstocks that contain more energy than current biofuels, require less energy to produce and can be distributed through the existing petroleum infrastructure. 2005 No current CEO
AltraBiofuels
Los Angeles, Calif.
Over $415M from Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, Angeleno Group, Omninet Private Equity, Sage Capital Partners Leverages various kinds of biofuel manufacturing processes. 2004 CEO Larry Gross
Amyris Biotechnologies
Emeryville, Calif.
$20 million series A, working
on a $70 million series B, DAG Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins,
and TPG Ventures
Uses synthetic biology to create biofuels that can replace gas, diesel and jet fuel; its genetic processes are also used to deliver low cost anti-malarial drugs. 2003 CEO John Melo
Celunol, (now Verenium)
Cambridge, Mass.
Trades on the NASDAQ. Bought by Diversa for $150M+. Became Verenium this year. Reportedly raised more than $60M from Khosla Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, Charles River, Rho Ventures Produces enzyme based cellulosic ethanol. 1994 CEO Verenium, Carlos Riva
  1. [...] National Geographic and Wired. They were mentioned in the State of the Union address. They’re raising hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital — and yet they sometimes smell like French fries. Yep, we’re talking about biofuels. [...]

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  2. [...] National Geographic and Wired. They were mentioned in the State of the Union address. They’re raising hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital. And they’re on video. Yep, we’re talking about biofuels. Check out these biofuel video [...]

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  3. [...] National Geographic and Wired. They were mentioned in the State of the Union address. They’re raising hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital. And they’re on video. Yep, we’re talking about biofuels. Check out these biofuel video [...]

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  4. [...] Earth2Tech has an interesting post detailing the 10 big biofuel bets that Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla has made. The question is, as the debate about biofuels picks up and bigger questions get asked, is whether they’re going to pay off. Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

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  5. [...] destination — be it the feedstock or the pumping station — isn’t a new idea. Several of Vinod Khosla’s biofuel investments are focused on cutting down the energy, and thus the cost, expended in transportation. This morning [...]

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  6. [...] destination — be it the feedstock or the pumping station — isn’t a new idea. Several of Vinod Khosla’s biofuel investments are focused on cutting down the energy, and thus the cost, expended in transportation. This morning [...]

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  7. This is fascinating. I had no idea he was so deeply into this stuff.

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  8. [...] States. But does “the biofuel revolution” actually benefit these communities or just Vinod Khosla? That’s the topic that Kansas State researchers will tackle with the $696,000 grant they [...]

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  9. [...] now has at least a dozen investments in biofuel startups, (Check out 10 here). He’s betting on a variety of technologies — using enzymes, thermochemistry and [...]

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  10. [...] tech. Between now and 2012, a new pool of government grants and funding could fund an awful lot of bioenergy startups, as well as fuel ongoing research. Digg Stumble Reddit del.icio.us Email « PG&E [...]

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