Launches Greentech Innovation Network for Green Policy and Technology Entrepreneurs
SAN FRANCISCO, May 18, 2006 – Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) — a leader in providing venture and relationship capital SM services — announced an investment in biofuel leader Altra Inc. (Altra) and the new KPCB Prize for Green Innovation as part of KPCB’s “Greentech initiative.”
“Altra is a national leader in ethanol production,” said John Doerr, KPCB partner. “Its unique, proprietary technology and strong, passionate team make it a sustainable, high-impact business. Altra is creating a nationwide ethanol production footprint by acquiring and ‘speeding up’ existing, traditional corn-to-ethanol plants and by ‘starting up’ new ones.”
Based in Los Angeles, California, Altra has signed a definitive agreement to acquire California’s largest operating ethanol plant.
“We’ve known Larry Gross, Altra’s CEO, for a long time,” said KPCB partner John Denniston, who serves on Altra’s board. “Larry’s leadership and exceptional team will make a big difference in bringing ethanol to consumers. Altra’s team has over 100 years of combined experience in producing ethanol, and will bring important innovations to the industry.”
“KPCB’s commitment to and leadership in Greentech makes them an extremely helpful and well-networked investor,” Gross said. “We share a common goal of innovating to create new, green sources of energy. We believe Altra’s strategy and national footprint enables us to better serve consumers than smaller, local competitors.”
Altra has invested in five biofuels plants, which will have the capacity to produce 175 million gallons of ethanol and 80 million gallons of biodiesel each year. The total financing of over $50 million included funding from KPCB, The Angeleno Group, Khosla Ventures, Omninet Private Equity and Sage Capital Partners.
KPCB also announced the KPCB Prize for Green Innovation, a $100,000 annual prize awarded for the best technology or policy innovation in Greentech. A panel of five independent judges will select and announce the
first winner in this fall.
“This award will encourage innovation in sustainable, green growth,” said KPCB partner Brook Byers. “We will bring worldwide recognition to entrepreneurs who achieve breakthroughs in green energy generation,
storage, conservation or policies, whether from an individual or a team, whether public or private, anywhere in the world.”
KPCB today inaugurates the Greentech Innovation Network with 50 of the world’s leading entrepreneurs, scientists and policymakers. They are gathering from the United States, Asia, Europe and South America to build a strategic map for evaluating needs and encouraging innovation, and to forge new partnerships. Insights from Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, a “geo-green”, will keynote the networking event.
KPCB partner Bill Joy will lead a series of inspirational talks by four green thought leaders: Dr. Frances Arnold, California Institute of Technology professor; Dr. Jose Goldemberg, Environmental Secretary of Sao Paulo, Brazil and Universidade de Sao Paulo professor; Dr. R.K. Pachauri, UN Global International Panel of Climate Change Chairman and Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute; and Dr. Martha Symko-Davies, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Senior Project Leader.
“Three huge trends are driving our Greentech agenda,” Doerr explained. “First, urbanization is the largest trend on the planet. Four billion people will move into megacities in the next 50 years, and they all want
green transportation, water, and energy. Second, climate change and global warming are accelerating at alarming rates. And third, we are addicted to oil, funding both sides of the war on terrorists, weakening democracy and our economy and damaging the environment. We must change our policies and practices and accelerate innovation. The KPCB Greentech Innovation Network is an ongoing initiative for collaboration among the world’s best innovators.”
“We have been quietly investing in Greentech for several years,” added Ray Lane, KPCB partner. “We’ve backed four new ventures since announcing our Greentech initiative in February of this year. These, together with five previous ventures, are innovating for green and sustainable growth. We’re seeing more and more entrepreneurs address critical environmental needs. This workshop is not a conference, it is a networking event to ‘help solve the problem’ by collaborating in five Greentech areas. They are electricity generation and storage, electricity efficiency, alternative fuels, transportation efficiency and carbon reduction policies.”
KPCB has previously announced investments in Lilliputian Systems, which produces micro fuel cells for portable and wireless devices, and Miasole (www.miasole.com), which makes a flexible, low-cost photovoltaic cell for large-scale solar energy. Six other Greentech ventures are in stealth mode.