Rivertop Renewables raises $26 million from Cargill, others

By Rivertop Renewables | April 09, 2014

Rivertop Renewables, a Montana-based producer of novel chemicals derived from natural plant sugars, has announced that it has raised $26 million from Cargill, First Green Partners and existing investors.

Rivertop's new partners represent world-class leaders in agriculture, finance and industrial products. Their contributions will enable Rivertop to commence commercial production of a new class of high-performance chemicals targeted at consumer product and industrial markets.

"This major financing milestone allows us to scale our platform technology and provide a whole new set of products to customers seeking a competitive advantage in the marketplace," said Mike Knauf, CEO of Rivertop. "Our novel chemicals will enable our customers and partners to innovate within their own product lines with new functionality, cost-performance advantages and sustainability."

Rivertop will leverage these funds and an existing manufacturing relationship to produce market development quantities of salts of glucaric acid for select customers. In addition, it will complete construction and begin operations at a semi-works facility at its headquarters in Missoula, where it will optimize its process for world-scale deployment. Rivertop plans to hire more than 20 employees in the next 12 months to support commercial development, effectively doubling the size of its workforce.

"Rivertop's technology opens new opportunities in the renewable carbon value-chain by unleashing a platform technology with broad applicability," said Doug Cameron, co-president and director of First Green Partners. We're seeing increased demand for bio-based chemicals amongst the major consumer products companies, and Rivertop is well-positioned to take advantage of this trend."

Rivertop's initial focus will be on commercializing opportunities in the dishwasher detergent and corrosion inhibitor markets. The company will explore additional opportunities from among several large industries including home and personal care products, oil and gas, building and infrastructure, agriculture and food. Access to applications in these markets is enabled by Rivertop's platform technology which can utilize a range of sugars and sugar alcohols to produce the corresponding "sugar acids." These sugar acids possess a range of properties and will be newly available to industry.

"Cargill's investment in Rivertop is strategic given the compatibility of our expertise and resources in multiple feedstocks, worldwide facilities and access to key industries," said Brian Silvey, vice president of Corn Milling North America at Cargill. "We are impressed by the broad applicability of the Rivertop platform to address multiple billion dollar market segments."