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Update: Larry Gross is heading up an AltraBiofuels spinoff called Edeniq that will focus on cellulosic ethanol, more details here.
While we were digging into a list of biofuel startups backed by Valley firms, we noticed a changing of the guard at Los Angeles, Calif.-based AltraBiofuels. Larry Gross, who was listed on the website of as the CEO of AltraBiofuels just weeks ago, has been replaced by Kenneth DeCubellis, formerly AltraBiofuel’s vice president of business development and commercial operations. Larry Gross is no longer listed in the management team on the company’s website.
We contacted the company and are waiting to hear back on the reason for Gross’ departure and what he plans to do next. Gross was a former dotcom entrepreneur at Idealab (with his brother Bill Gross) and has been leading AltraBiofuels for several years. It can’t be a good sign that a company backed by hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from investors including Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufiled & Byers, the Angeleno Group and Sage Capital partners just lost its longtime CEO.
We’re wondering what’s in store for the four-year-old AltraBiofuels, which explains its business model as leveraging “various kinds of biofuel manufacturing processes.” It’s an unusual strategy — and perhaps not such a smart one — to build a startup based on acquiring or licensing technology. The company website says AltraBiofuels is looking at cellulosic and algae-based biofuels, but it just launched a “state-of-the-art” ethanol plant in February in Ohio that names corn as its feedstock.