Optimizing the combos of little organisms that live on plants could help feed the booming population of the future.
Beleaguered biofuel maker Kior has managed to close the financing it was hoping from investor Vinod Khosla, which will keep the company from temporarily defaulting on its loans and filing for bankruptcy. In a filing, Kior says it will be getting monthly installments of $5 million (via a note purchase agreement) for up to $25 million. This could keep Kior afloat for a few months, but the company will need to raise much more project financing to move toward commercialization again. Kior’s stock is up over 50 percent on the news to $0.90 per share in morning trading. Check out my recent piece on the story of Kior.
Orthopedics and agriculture — the hot new fields in big data may be less glamorous than two years ago, but that’s where venture capitalists are looking.
Robotics, machine learning, computer vision and precision agriculture are the hot trends behind this startup’s weed-killing robots and their latest funding round.
China has long been the untapped wild card in cleantech. Now more entrepreneurs are making connections and raising funds from Asia.
Venture capital firm Khosla Ventures already has a long list of startups that it’s backed that are looking to make food more sustainable — like plant-based egg maker Hampton Creek Foods, organic candy company Unreal Candy, salt replacement product Nu-Tek Salt, and plant-based meat replacement startup Sand Hill Foods. But Fasto.co Exist has the details on the Khosla-backed vegan cheese startup Kite Hill, which uses nut milk instead of dairy to make artisanal cheeses.
Biofuel startup LS9 has been sold for $40 million to biodiesel maker Renewable Energy Group, reports MIT Tech Review. But before you congratulate them, note that LS9 raised $81 million over nine years, and still hadn’t reached a point where it was selling its green diesel to refiners. Last year the company brought in a new CEO, following restructuring and layoffs. Such are the long roads and harsh conditions facing biofuel startups. LS9 was backed by Khosla Ventures, Flagship Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures, and Chevron Technology Ventures.
That’s a ton of cash, but the company says it’s taking on a massive $100 billion market as companies revamp their data center hardware.
Look for the next generation of batteries, particularly for the power grid, to come out this year from some interesting startups.
Struggling next-gen biofuel company Kior now has funding commitments from Bill Gates for its plant expansion.