Green Muck Has Biofuel Investors Chomping at the Bit

Algae by gmsWhen you visit the Khosla Ventures website, you are greeted with a quote that articulates the spirit of the movement that we are trying to capture at the Inspired Economist.  It reads, “Innovative bottom up methods will solve problems that now seem intractable- from energy to poverty to disease. Science and technology, powered by the fuel of entrepreneurial energy, are the largest multipliers of resources we have to solve our many social problems.”  Brilliant words from a VC firm that is helping to finance many of the companies of the New Economy.  Vinod Khosla is the founder of Khosla Ventures, and was also the keynote speaker at the 2008 Algae Biomass Summit held last week in Seattle, WA.

The focus of the conference was on the potential for Algae as the biofuel of the future.  One of the most obvious benefits of algae versus other types of biofuels is that it does not rely on some form of agriculture.  Algae can can be grown in ponds or industrial-sized tanks.  This is an encouraging prospect for some investors, however, Khosla is not quite ready to step up to the table.  Some experts believe that mass production of any Algae-based biofuel is still five to 10 years away.  While Khosla may be right to wait, there are still a handful of noteworthy deals and companies in this space, which are highlighted below:

Photo Credit: By Photo Credit: gms’ via Flickr’s Media Commons

Written by John-Paul Maxfield

John-Paul Maxfield is the founder of Waste Farmers. Waste Farmers is a next generation sustainable agricultural company focused on helping humanity meet current and future food demands, while decreasing agriculture’s environmental footprint. The Company started in 2009 with $9,000 and a belief that idealism and capitalism can coexist. Today Waste Farmers has evolved into an innovator respected by leaders in the global community for developing simple solutions to the complex problems of modern agriculture and food security. Prior to starting Waste Farmers, John-Paul founded the "The Inspired Economist", a blog focused on covering the people, places, ideas, and technologies inspiring positive change and redefining capitalism.
In addition, John-Paul served as an Associate a private equity group specializing in small to mid cap service companies. In this capacity he focused on planning, forecasting, budgeting, and performance evaluation of MBH and its designated subsidiaries. Prior to joining MBH, John-Paul was an Analyst with Alvarez and Marsal where he spent the majority of his time on a team that aided Louisiana’s Recovery School District with the restoration of public schools post Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

John-Paul is active in the Colorado community, serving on the Board of the Rocky Mountain MS Center. In 2007 he was selected as one of the “Fifty for the Future” by the Colorado Statesman and is a graduate of the inaugural class of Impact Denver. John-Paul holds a BA from the University of Colorado.


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  1. I happen to deeply agree with the wisdom of Tom Friedman (that we cannot consume of way out of this mess and “Have you ever been to a revolution where nobody gets hurt?”). The fact is that the current economic conditions will cause a lot of companies to close their doors (websites too), and will die off altogether due to lack of understanding the competitive landscape. Those that will fight to stay alive will need to figure out — What’s Next?

    I believe that the New Green Economy will include the Rise of Green Real Estate Markets paired with the continued success of Cleantech, Clean Energy Markets, and large scale shifts toward Clean Transportation, and the Greening of the IT Industries (plus a fourth quarter of record investment!!), which will lead to a boom in “American Made” Green Collar Jobs and the creation of new wealth. The trick is: “who will get it right??” Execution makes all the difference for most of these opportunities and green investors need to pay more attention to the items that management claim they can achieve. See what other green investors are doing at

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