Keclon, an Argentinian biodiesel technology developer, completes seed financing round

Keclon, Argentinian biodiesel technology developer specializing in proprietary enzymes it says improve the quality, efficiency and cost of biodiesel fuel production, has completed a seed round of financing.
Keclon, an Argentinian biodiesel technology developer, completes seed financing round

Investors participating in the round include Dr. Pablo Valenzuela, Chilean biochemist and President of Fundacion Ciencias para la Vida (FCV); Pymar Fund LP, managed in Argentina by Lisandro Bril, founder and managing partner of Ax Ventures; and Eduardo Ergas, a businessman who specializes in investing cleantech investments.

"Keclon is a world-class biotechnology venture that is poised to capitalize on the rapid growth of the biofuel industry to bring significant cost and quality benefits to consumers," Valenzuela said. "With expertise ranging from cutting-edge molecular biology to large-scale production, and management talent that draws from successful biotechnology entrepreneurs, Keclon has the potential to solve one of the world's most pressing economic and social challenges by harnessing the power of innovative technology to deliver new solutions to biodiesel producers from most plant feedstocks."

The company was established in Rosario, Argentina in December 2011 by Dr. Hugo Menzella an investigator at Rosario National University (UNR), Leandro Vetcher, founder and CEO of Green Pacific Biologicals, Dr. Salvador Peiru, a researcher at UNR, and Sebastian Bernales, investigator at FCV and Director of R&D at Medivation.

It is the first private biotechnology company in Argentina to receive financial support from the venture community.

In addition, Keclon has established a research and development cooperation agreement with CONICET (National Scientific and Technical Research Council) and with the prestigious UNR.

"Keclon represents a new model for global entrepreneurship by synergistically combining the management talent, scientific and business expertise and technological capabilities of its team of founders, executives and investors regardless of whether they reside in South America or Silicon Valley," said Lisandro Bril. "With its promise to dramatically reduce the cost and improve the quality of plant-based biodiesel production, Keclon has the potential to have a significant positive impact on national, regional and world economies, while carrying on the rich tradition of Argentina's scientific excellence in biotechnology. We believe that Keclon represents a promising investment opportunity whose success will be measured in societal enhancements as well as financial returns."

Argentina is one of the world's largest exporters of plant-based biodiesel, with production significantly increasing in recent years to meet growing demand.

The biodiesel market reached revenues of $18.4 billion in 2010 and is expected to reach $71.0 billion worldwide by 2020, showing double-digit annual growth rates, while the US government has set mandates for blending 46 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022.

Argentina, Keclon's initial market, already has a mandate to for a B7 blend (7% biodiesel in gasoline). The performance of biodiesel, however, is inferior to petroleum diesel due to the presence of impurities, including insoluble materials such as steryl glucosides and saturated monoacylglycerols.

Keclon's technology is intended to level that playing field.

"Keclon has built a unique, proprietary platform capable of rapidly generating a pipeline of novel synthetic enzymes with greatly enhanced characteristics, including the ability to work effectively at extreme conditions," said Hugo Menzella, Keclon's founder. "Our goal is to solve the challenges of producing biodiesel fuel which is higher quality, more cost-effective, and competitive in the global market and will look forward to scaling up our operations in the coming months. We are deeply appreciative of the support of our investors and look forward to our partnership with CONICET and UNR."

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Funding announcement

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