## Solazyme Closes $57M Series C Round; Total Funding Surpasses$76M

##### 09 June 2009

Solazyme, Inc., a renewable oil production and algal synthetic biology company has closed a $57-million Series C financing round, bringing total funding to more than$76 million. Solazyme uses microalgae biotechnology to produce clean and scalable fuels, “green” chemicals, edible oils and health and wellness products.

Braemar Energy Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners led the financing round and were joined by other new investors including VantagePoint Venture Partners. All major existing investors participated in the round, including The Roda Group, Harris and Harris Group, and Solazyme Chairman Jerry Fiddler. The round also included new strategic investors in key target markets. All funding has been dispersed to Solazyme and will be used to move the company to commercialization.

Solazyme’s unique renewable oil production process grows algae in the dark in an industrial fermentation process, where the algae are fed non-food biomass and industrial byproducts including a wide variety of cellulosic materials and low-grade waste glycerol which are converted by the algae into oil. (Earlier post.) This allows the company to produce oil cleanly and economically in a controlled, large-scale process.

Solazyme is currently producing thousands of gallons of oil in commercial scale facilities and has produced in-specification fuels including renewable diesel, biodiesel and jet fuel. Solazyme’s first fuel, Soladiesel, has been successfully road tested as an unblended fuel (100%) for thousands of miles in a variety of unmodified vehicles. Additionally, Solazyme’s process is the first bridge from non–food carbohydrates and industrial waste streams to edible and renewable oils. This technology has already been shown to produce high quality oils for a multitude of purposes across a variety of industries.

We are going to need lots of capital for these new green fuel businesses. The more we can shift from coal and oil into these, the better off we can be.

You might wonder where the billions of DOE TARP and other new government funds are. This is a PRIME area for R&D if the goal is energy independence. We can electrify most transport except air and ocean freight. Those, both MAJOR trading vehicles, need liquid fuel.

The Air Force is probably also interested in a renewable, non-foreign source of fuel.

DOD was working on synthetic fuels a while ago with the B52 that they ran on it for testing. They realize that running out of fuel is not an option, so this is in the works. I would say that more funding from the DOE is forthcoming, but it should leverage private funds and that is where the bind seems to be.

The amount of feedstock available for processes such as Solazyme's is quite limited, ergo so is the amount of fuel it can produce.  Adding stimulus money will not boost the primary productivity of the biosphere, so pushing these schemes before they are ready is doubly foolish.

EP,

I agree, there is a time and place for proper funding to get the most out of it. Like I have said, some programs can have funding increased a lot and still not progress much faster. They need to get to a more mature to a stage where they can accelerate. It is good if they have sufficient funding to get to that more mature state however.

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