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.
|$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|
|Khosla Ventures, Finistere Ventures||Researching the development of ethanol plants on Hawaiian islands.||2006||NA|
|$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|
|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|
|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|
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|
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|
|$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)
|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|