About: DAG Ventures is a venture capital partnership investing in and helping outstanding entrepreneurs create leading, long-term companies across a range of markets. With roots from the 1980’s in cable TV, infrastructure, media, and wireless industries, the partnership today is privileged to work with world-class entrepreneurs as they build tomorrow’s leaders in the information technology, energy, and life science sectors.
John J. Cadeddu, Managing Director
Young J. Chung, Managing Director
John M. Duff, Managing Director and co-founder
R. Thomas Goodrich, Managing Director and co-founder
Nicholas K. Pianim, Managing Director
Kendra H. Ragatz, Venture Partner
Greg Williams, Managing Director
Joseph Zanone, CFO
I have to select the cleantech companies from its portfolio:
Altra Biofuels, Agrivida, Amyris BioTechnologies, Bloom Energy, GreatPoint Energy, GreenRoad, Lilliputian Systems, Luxim, Miasolé, Solexel.
I will also add Oorja Protonics to this list (see news below).
News: In previous blog, it has been mentioned about GreenRoad securing $15m in additional financing led by new investor DAG Ventures, with participation from existing investors Benchmark Capital, Virgin Green Fund, Amadeus Capital and Balderton Capital in May 2009.
In December 2008, Biofuels Digest broke a story that “In California, Altra Biofuels announced that they have shut down production at their two ethanol plants formerly operating in Cloverdale, Indiana and Coshocton, Ohio. The Altra plant in Cloverdale commenced operation in May, with an initial capacity of 84 Mgy that the company had announced it would expend to 100 Mgy. The complete staff of the plant were laid off indefinitely. The company did not reveal the reason for closure, but low ethanol prices and the continuing credit squeeze are likely to have been the key factors in the shutdown, according to observers.”
A WSJ Blog wrote that Altra Biofuels, an Omaha, Neb-based ethanol producer, later described the layoffs as a “furlough” and it aimed to re-start production in January 2009. Ethanol nearly hit $3 a gallon in June 2008; today in December 2008 it trades just under $1.40 a gallon. That spells zero or even negative margins for most ethanol makers. Altra is a poster child of sorts for the corn ethanol business, attracting investment from Vinod Khosla and Kleiner Perkins. Former vice president Al Gore touted Altra as an example of the alternative-energy companies that could underpin a green revolution in the U.S.
However, this Indiana paper Banner Graphic reported Altra Biofuels was knocking on the door of bankruptcy in February 2009 and describing the process of disposing the waste at the Cloverdale plant which has fallen into receivership. I could not find other reports to verify this bankruptcy statement.
In Mar 2008, Oorja Protonics, the Fremont, Calif.-based developer and manufacturer of ultra-powerful fuel cells, stepped out of stealth mode to announce its public launch and patented direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) technology. The startup touts its fuel cells as being 10 to 100 times more powerful than existing methanol fuel cells, and believes the use of the readily available fuel gives it a strong advantage over hydrogen technology for forklifts, tuggers, and automated guided vehicles. Backed by nearly $21 million in funding from Sequoia Capital, DAG Ventures, McKenna Management and Spring Ventures, according to regulatory filings, the company planned to announce a major contract for its fuel cells later in the week.