Bioenergy VC firm talks getting noticed and the latest $300 million funding round

A company spokesperson from Braemar Energy Ventures explains what bioenergy companies hoping to be the next Solazyme should do, and why $300 million is signficant.
By Luke Geiver | July 06, 2012

A company spokesperson from Braemar Energy Ventures, the
same firm that just closed its third funding round (totaling $300 million) that will be used for investment in conventional and alternative energy, would not provide comment for me on the significance of adding both new and strategic investors to this third round. But, the spokesperson did respond to my non-formal, hypothetical question, “If I’m a CEO of a renewable energy production company,” I asked, “what do I need to do to get noticed by Braemar, or to ultimately become an investment of the team?”

This is what I was told: “I think the best way to answer
this is to give you a little insight on Braemar’s investment criteria. Braemar
focuses on venture- and expansion-stage energy technology companies,
specifically companies with superior technologies, business processes and an
experienced management team. A typical Braemar investment (in a given company)
ranges from $5 million to $25 million, with a standard investment between $1
million and $10 million—in a single round of financing.”

The spokesperson also pointed out the unique nature of
this funding round and explained why it is significant compared to the previous
two rounds. Don’t confuse this funding round, which included investment parties
ranging from the Government of Singapore to the California State Teacher’s
Retirement System, with cleantech, I was told. This money will go towards the
energy technology space, specifically those that have an innovative approach to
improving performance, increasing productivity and enhanced efficiency all
while minimizing energy consumption, waste and/or pollution, according to the

For the bioenergy industry, all of that means companies
similar to previous Braemar investments (Solazyme, Enerkem, Verenium, OPX
Biotechnologies and NexSteppe) should take notice. And, for project developers
or renewable energy companies pondering the possibility of finding the necessary
funding, consider how this third round compares to Braemar’s first (the company
was formed in 2002). Fund I closed at $55 million, Fund III, which was
oversubscribed, closed at $300 million as noted previously. The company, the
spokesperson noted, “recognizes the challenging investment environment but
believes it will breed great opportunities and innovation in our sector.”