NexSteppe Raises $14 Million In Series B Funding Round

December 21, 2011

For Immediate Release

Braemar Energy Ventures Leads Round

MALIBU, California (December 21, 2011) — NexSteppe, a company dedicated to pioneering the next generation of sustainable feedstock solutions for the biofuels, biopower and biobased products industries, today announced raising $14M in its second round of funding.

The biobased industries that NexSteppe’s products serve are experiencing rapid growth driven by volatile fossil fuel prices, a desire for energy security, and growing concerns about the environmental impacts of fossil fuel use. Sugars and biomass from NexSteppe’s tailored crops can be processed by biorefineries, sugar to ethanol mills, and coal or biomass-fired power plants into a myriad of products ranging from fuels to power to plastics to cosmetics. While each application has its unique feedstock requirements, they all require scalable, reliable and sustainable feedstocks that won’t negatively impact the environment or the world’s food supply. Dedicated crops, optimized for these applications, hold the promise for bioenergy and biobased products to become mainstream, sustainable solutions. NexSteppe is focused on developing these crops, as well as the supply chains that will enable their widespread adoption.

The company will use the proceeds from the round to scale up its sweet sorghum, high biomass sorghum and switchgrass breeding programs, and to advance its first products toward commercialization. According to NexSteppe founder and CEO, Anna Rath, “NexSteppe has assembled a world class team that brings to this industry a new level of operational experience and commercial orientation. We look forward to working with our customers to solve their feedstock problems and meet their feedstock needs.”

The new round of funding was led by Braemar Energy Ventures, a leading energy venture capital firm with a strong portfolio of investments in alternative energy and energy efficiency. In connection with Braemar’s investment in NexSteppe, Dennis Costello, Partner at Braemar Energy Ventures, has joined the company’s Board of Directors.

”We have long believed that feedstock is a critical component in the value chains for biofuels and biobased products. We view NexSteppe’s strategy of focusing on dedicated crops produced from seed, some of which can offer drop-in solutions in existing value chains, as a winning one,” said Dennis Costello. “The combination of the management team’s experience and focus makes the company attractive. We are excited about the prospects for growth in this sector and are pleased to be on this path with NexSteppe.”

Braemar was joined by returning investors CYM Ventures and Zygote Ventures among others. CYM Ventures is the investment company of a third generation, family-owned and operated agricultural business in Asia. CYM is committed to the belief that agriculture will play a vital role in the coming years, to provide for the needs of an ever growing world. Zygote Ventures is a privately held seed/angel venture capital fund that invests very early in innovative technology enterprises. Zygote is run by principal Jerry Fiddler, Chairman of Solazyme and founder of Wind River.

About NexSteppe

NexSteppe is dedicated to pioneering the next generation of scalable, reliable, cost-effective and sustainable feedstock solutions for the biofuels, biopower and biobased products industries. Through the development and commercialization of tailored crops and fully-integrated feedstock solutions, NexSteppe is laying a foundation for a more secure and sustainable future for our economy, our environment, and our energy supply. For more information, please visit

For more information

Bill Honnef
(415) 967-0525

About Braemar Energy Ventures

Founded in 2003, Braemar Energy Ventures is a leading venture capital firm focused on transformative energy-tech and related companies contributing to global sustainability and combating climate change. Using sector expertise and experience, Braemar aims to be an engaged partner with its portfolio companies to best help them navigate the path to significant global impact. For more information, visit or follow @BraemarEnergy on Twitter.