GE Energy Financial Services Joins North Bridge Venture Partners in Investment in CoolPlanetBiofuels
Camarillo, Calif. – November 17, 2010 – GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE (NYSE: GE), has joined an $8 million funding round for CoolPlanetBioFuels, a start-up company developing a technology that converts low-grade biomass into high-grade fuel and carbon that can be sequestered. This venture capital investment was led by North Bridge Venture Partners, which had also led CoolPlanet’s financing round last year. Additional financial details were not disclosed. CoolPlanet’s research and development facilities are located in Camarillo, CA.
CoolPlanet’s low-cost approach towards converting cellulosic plant material -- such as grass and wood -- into gasoline could create jobs in rural, agricultural areas as well as demand for non-food crops.
“GE’s technical and market resources could accelerate our development well beyond the impact of the company’s financial investment,” said Mike Cheiky, CoolPlanet’s president and chief technology officer.
This investment reflects GE’s ecomagination business strategy to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology through innovation and research and development.
“CoolPlanet’s low-capital process yields high-value products, including gasoline,” noted Kevin Skillern, managing director of venture capital at GE Energy Financial Services. “That approach, coupled with Mike Cheiky’s entrepreneurial record, positions this company to succeed.”
Basil R. Horangic of North Bridge Venture Partners added: “We’ve been very impressed by the progress CoolPlanet has made since we initially backed it one year ago and are pleased to have GE on board. The fuel market is one of the world’s largest at about $4 trillion per year. Today, biofuels are only a tiny portion of that market, but are poised for rapid growth based on concerns about global warming and importing oil. CoolPlanet’s technology could be a major driver in expanding the use of low carbon footprint and locally sourced fuels.”
CoolPlanetBioFuels, based in Camarillo, California, is developing a revolutionary thermal/mechanical processor that directly inputs raw biomass such as woodchips, crop residues and non-food fuel crops, and produces distinct gas streams for catalytic upgrading to conventional hydrocarbon fuel. The company is also developing simple one-step catalytic conversion processes that mate with the processor’s output gas streams to produce useful products such as eBTX (gasoline), synthetic diesel and proprietary ultra-high-yield super fuels. This process also produces a type of char, which can be used to sequester carbon and act as a soil conditioner. This makes the CoolPlanetBioFuels product a NEGATIVE CARBON FUEL. For more information on CoolPlanet, visit www.coolplanetbiofuels.com.
About GE Energy Financial Services
GE Energy Financial Services' experts invest globally across the capital spectrum in essential, long-lived and capital-intensive energy assets that meet the world's energy needs. In addition to capital, GE Energy Financial Services offers the best of GE's technical know-how, technology innovation, financial strength and rigorous risk management. Based in Stamford, Connecticut, the GE business unit helps its customers and GE grow through new investments, strong partnerships and optimization of its $21 billion in assets. For more information, visit www.geenergyfinancialservices.com.
GE (NYSE: GE) is a diversified infrastructure, finance and media company taking on the world's toughest challenges. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, health care services and solutions, and television programming, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.ge.com .
About North Bridge Venture Partners
North Bridge Venture Partners is an active, early-stage venture capital firm based in Boston, Massachusetts and San Mateo, California, founded in 1994. With approximately $3.1 billion under management, North Bridge Venture Partners focuses on investments in communications, software, new media, healthcare, and materials technology. Working closely with entrepreneurs, North Bridge adds value by providing strategic guidance, specific industry knowledge, team-building skills and an in-depth understanding of both private and public financings. For more information, visit North Bridge's website at www.northbridge.com. They also have a growth equity arm that invests in technology middle-market companies, the North Bridge Growth Equity Fund.