Canadian Biomass Magazine

NexSteppe raises $16 Million in funding

December 21, 2011
By Business Wire

Dec. 21, 2011, Malibu, CA - NexSteppe has announced raising $16M in its second round of funding to help produce the next generation of sustainable feedstock solutions for the biofuels, biopower and biobased products.

Dec. 21, 2011, Malibu, CA – NexSteppe, a company dedicated to pioneering the next generation of
sustainable feedstock solutions for the biofuels, biopower and biobased
products industries, has announced raising $16M in its second round of

The biobased industries that NexSteppe's products serve are experiencing
rapid growth driven by volatile fossil fuel prices, a desire for energy
security, and growing concerns about the environmental impacts of fossil
fuel use. Sugars and biomass from NexSteppe's tailored crops can be
processed by biorefineries, sugar to ethanol mills, and coal or
biomass-fired power plants into a myriad of products ranging from fuels
to power to plastics to cosmetics. While each application has its unique
feedstock requirements, they all require scalable, reliable and
sustainable feedstocks that won't negatively impact the environment or
the world's food supply. Dedicated crops, optimized for these
applications, hold the promise for bioenergy and biobased products to
become mainstream, sustainable solutions. NexSteppe is focused on
developing these crops, as well as the supply chains that will enable
their widespread adoption.

The company will use the proceeds from the round to scale up its sweet
sorghum, high biomass sorghum and switchgrass breeding programs, and to
advance its first products toward commercialization. According to
NexSteppe founder and CEO, Anna Rath, "NexSteppe has assembled a world
class team that brings to this industry a new level of operational
experience and commercial orientation. We look forward to working with
our customers to solve their feedstock problems and meet their feedstock

The new round of funding was led by Braemar Energy Ventures, a leading
energy venture capital firm with a strong portfolio of investments in
alternative energy and energy efficiency. In connection with Braemar's
investment in NexSteppe, Dennis Costello, Partner at Braemar Energy
Ventures, has joined the company's Board of Directors.


"We have long believed that feedstock is a critical component in the
value chains for biofuels and biobased products. We view NexSteppe's
strategy of focusing on dedicated crops produced from seed, some of
which can offer drop-in solutions in existing value chains, as a winning
one," said Dennis Costello. "The combination of the management team's
experience and focus makes the company attractive. We are excited about
the prospects for growth in this sector and are pleased to be on this
path with NexSteppe."

Braemar was joined by returning investors CYM Ventures and Zygote
Ventures among others. CYM Ventures is the investment company of a third
generation, family-owned and operated agricultural business in Asia. CYM
is committed to the belief that agriculture will play a vital role in
the coming years, to provide for the needs of an ever growing world.
Zygote Ventures is a privately held seed/angel venture capital fund that
invests very early in innovative technology enterprises. Zygote is run
by principal Jerry Fiddler, Chairman of Solazyme and founder of Wind

About NexSteppe

NexSteppe is dedicated to pioneering the next generation of scalable,
reliable, cost-effective and sustainable feedstock solutions for the
biofuels, biopower and biobased products industries. Through the
development and commercialization of tailored crops and fully-integrated
feedstock solutions, NexSteppe is laying a foundation for a more secure
and sustainable future for our economy, our environment, and our energy
supply. For more information, please visit

About Braemar Energy Ventures

Braemar Energy Ventures is a venture capital fund making early to
mid-stage investments in the energy technology sector. The firm's
principals have invested in more than 50 companies in the sector and
have significant technical, operational and financial experience in
energy and energy-related industries. Through offices in New York and
Boston, the firm targets a wide range of energy technologies that impact
stationary power, transportation and portable energy applications.
Additional information is available at

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