EcoMotors, which makes especially efficient internal combustion engines and has more recently started making diesel motors, just announced a $32.5-million Series C financing round, which also includes repeat funding partners Khosla Ventures and new investor Braemar Energy Ventures. So far, the company, which counts Navistar and Zhongding Holding Group as its customers, has raised $66 million in equity. Gates and Silicon Valley-based Khosla Ventures were part of a July 2010 funding round that totaled $23.5 million.
EcoMotors' engines use what it calls an Opposed-Piston-Opposed-Cylinder (OPOC) layout, which the company says uses just 40 percent of the components of a traditional engine and cut fuel use in half. The OPOC layout was developed by Peter Hofbauer, who'd previously been a key player in developing Volkswagen's clean-diesel engines.
Braemar Energy Venture leads round, along with Bill Gates and Khosla Ventures
Allen Park, MI and New York, NY, July 10, 2012 – EcoMotors International, developer of the efficient, clean, lightweight, powerful opoc® engine, announced today that it has completed its Series C round with a new investment totaling US $32.5 million, led by Braemar Energy Ventures. Existing investors Bill Gates and Khosla Ventures also participated in the round. To date, EcoMotors has raised more than $66 million.
The funding will allow EcoMotors to expand its research and development capability in support of growing the Company's already robust intellectual property base and moving to the next stage of opoc® diesel engine development with two important customers, Navistar and Zhongding Holding Group. The new capital will also enable EcoMotors to accelerate the creation of gasoline versions of opoc® to meet increasing customer demand for cost effective fuel economy gains in cars, light trucks, hybrids, and extended range EVs.
"We are delighted to welcome Braemar Energy Ventures to the EcoMotors team," said Don Runkle, EcoMotors's CEO. "Braemar's depth of experience in energy innovation makes them the perfect partner as we embark on a significant phase of development and delivery of our revolutionary opoc® engine technology."
Runkle also announced that Braemar Managing Director William D. Lese will join the EcoMotors Board of Directors. "We look forward to tapping into Bill's vast knowledge of, and insight into, the arena of 'next generation' energy pioneers. His vision will be instrumental as we expand our R&D, accelerate our customer programs, and embark on the development of new versions of the opoc®." Lese has more than 27 years of research, operating and venture capital experience in the energy and environmental businesses. Prior to co-founding Braemar, Lese was a partner with Mantis Holdings, Inc., a venture capital firm focused on investing in environmental and energy-efficiency companies. He serves on the Advisory Committee of the New York City Accelerator for a Clean and renewable Economy (NYC ACRE). He also currently serves on the boards of Coaltek, Utility Associates, CIRIS Energy, OPX Biotechnologies, Solazyme, Stion, CRB, General Fusion, Proterro, Bioformix, and is chairman of the board of Solicore and Ioxus.
"EcoMotors's remarkable opoc® engine is exactly the type of cost-competitive, sustainable and environmentally responsible technology needed to propel growth in industrialized and developing nations as we move through the second decade of the 21st century." said Lese. "EcoMotors is an ideal fit for the Braemar portfolio, and we look forward to supporting Don and his innovative team as they bring their uniquely disruptive technologies to market."
EcoMotors is developing a multi-fuel family of engines to serve the expanding roster of opoc® customers in both automotive and non-automotive markets. These include diesel versions specifically for GenSet and commercial vehicle applications, gasoline versions, and a CNG version ideally suited to leverage CNG's fuel cost advantages while negating the traditional CNG issues of reduced power and range, and conversion costs.
The clean, efficient, and elegantly simple Opposed-Piston-Opposed-Cylinder opoc® architecture comprises 60% fewer components and far less mass than conventional engines. The perfectly balanced design means smooth, quiet and virtually vibration-free operation. The fully modular capability of opoc® enables remarkable efficiency gains – as much as a 50% reduction in both fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Menlo Park-based Khosla Ventures was a founding investor in EcoMotors and was joined by Bill Gates, who led the Series B funding round, to continue supporting the company through the Series C funding.
About Braemar Energy Ventures
Braemar Energy Ventures is a venture capital fund making early to mid-stage investments in energy technology companies. The firm's principals have invested in more than 60 companies in the sector and have more than 100 years of combined technical, operational and financial experience in energy and energy-related industries. Braemar partners with exceptional companies and management teams, in both alternative and traditional energy markets that can contribute to a more profitable and efficient energy landscape through innovation and marketplace expertise. Additional information is available at www.braemarenergy.com.
About Khosla Ventures
Khosla Ventures offers venture assistance, strategic advice and capital to entrepreneurs. The firm helps entrepreneurs extend the potential of their ideas in breakthrough scientific work in clean technology areas such as bio-refineries for energy and bioplastics, solar, battery and other environmentally friendly technologies as well as traditional venture areas like the Internet, computing, mobile and silicon technology arenas. Vinod Khosla founded the firm in 2004 and was formerly a General Partner at Kleiner Perkins and founder of Sun Microsystems. Khosla Ventures is based in Menlo Park, California. More information is available at www.khoslaventures.com.