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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Richard Branson's Virgin Fuels and Gemini Israel Fund invest in Metrolight

Virgin Fuels invests $9M in Metrolight

from Tech Confidential Blog

Biofuels developers are getting the lion's share of Virgin Group Ltd.'s $400 million alternative energy fund, but a small serving is going to a company that makes energy-efficient lighting technology. Metrolight Inc. announced Thursday that it has secured an investment of $9 million, led by Virgin Fuels and Gemini Israel Funds, with participation from Israel Cleantech Ventures and Altshuler Shaham. "Inefficient lighting is one of the largest sources of energy waste," says Virgin Group's Richard Branson. "Through Virgin Fuels, we invest in companies such as Metrolight that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and substantially improve energy efficiency around the world."

Tech Confidential is following Virgin Fuels' investments closely, reporting last month that biofuel developer Gevo Inc. obtained Series B funding from Khosla Ventures and Virgin Fuels. Exact figures were not made public, but Gevo CEO Patrick Gruber characterized the deal as under $10 million.

Previously, Branson's cleantech VC arm had invested roughly $160 million in ethanol maker Cilion Inc., in which Khosla also invests. And Virgin Fuels has formed a joint venture called VBC LLC, or Virgin Bioverda, with Irish firm Bioverda, a division of NTR plc, to invest $336 million in ethanol plants in the Midwest. The collaboration includes Bioverda's investments in Ethanol Grain Processors LLC and Indiana Bio-Energy LLC.

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