Lanzatech raises $US60m

UPDATE: Lanzatech has raised $US60 million ($NZ74 million) in a series D funding round led by Japan’s Mistui & Co with a $US20 million ($NZ23 million) investment.

The round also included new investors Siemens via its Venture Capital unit (SFS VC), CICC Growth Capital Fund I, L.P. and existing investors  Khosla Ventures, Qiming Venture Partners, Sir Stephen Tindall’s K1W1 and the Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund.

A Companies Office updated dated March 26 shows the Silicon Valley-based Khosla with a 35% holding in Lanzatech, with Mitsui the next largest shareholder with a 7.12% stake after its $US20 million investmetn - implying Lanzatech has a total private equity value of around $280 million.

The company first raised seed capital in New Zealand in 2005/06, followed by a $US3.5 million injection from Khosla Ventures in 2007 in its A Series funding round. The B round in 2010 raised a further $US18 million, led by Qiming Ventures, and the 2012 C Series raised a further $US55.8 million, led by the Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund.

Since it was founded, Lanzatech has also received more than $14 million in grants from various NZ government agencies.


EARLIER: Lanzatech has had a major funding round, documents filed with the Companies Office indicate.

The company, which uses gas fermentation technology to make fuel from waste products, has issued new shares to existing investors Mitsui & Co, Khosla Ventures, Qiming Venture Partners, Sir Stephen Tindall's K1W1 and the Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, plus new investors Siemens and CICC (China International Capital Corporation).

Lanzatech was founded in 2005 with NZ angel investment money and NZ government grants, and established pilot plant at the Glenbrook Steel Mill south of Auckland. Today its CEO, Jennifer Holmgren, is based in Chicago and the company has a range of multinational investors, plus offices in NZ, the US, China and India. 

What will the new money be ear-marked for? Some of it could be heading for China.

In his recent Ask Me Anything session with NBR readers, Sir Stephen Tindall - a Lanzatech investor through his K1W1 vehicle - was asked, Lanzatech seems to be moving very slowly. The Lanzatech bio fuel plants in China don't seem to be getting many headlines. I haven't seen any photos of their Chinese plants up and running. Is there a way to bring the Chinese on board now or is it too late for that?"

He replied:

"I'm confident that you will see some headlines about the first Chinese plant in the not too distant future.

"As you can well imagine, each plant consists of an enormous investment. The company has recently raised a very large further round of capital with a number of very high quality global investors at a much higher valuation than the last round, suggesting Lanzatech is on track to be a very successful global business."

Sir Stephen brushes off a question about the cracking boom, and the resulting fall in the price of "dirty" energy in the US - a topic NBR understands has been a concern for some Lanzatech managers.

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