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July 16, 2014

Evonik invests in California-based startup Biosynthetic Technologies

Mary Page Bailey

Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany; www.evonik.com) has closed on an equity investment in Biosynthetic Technologies, LLC (BT; Irvine, Calif.; www.biosynthetic.com), a specialist in biobased lubricants. BT has developed and manufactures a new class of bio-based synthetic oils called estolides that are used primarily in the passenger car motor oil and industrial lubricant sectors. Field trials have shown that the technical characteristics of the biobased synthetic oils made by BT include the ability to combat soot buildup in engines, which helps keep fuel consumption low. In addition to Evonik, BP Ventures also participated as a second strategic investor in this current funding round that focuses on growth. BP Ventures as well as Monsanto Co. have already invested in previous financing rounds.

Biosynthetic Technologies’ new class of bio-based synthetic oils are made from organic fatty acids found in plant oils and have numerous uses in the lubricant, chemical, and cosmetics industries. They are biodegradable, nontoxic and they do not bio-accumulate in marine life. BT holds a broad patent portfolio to protect these novel biosynthetic oils that are marketed under the trade name LubriGreen Biosynthetic Oils.

BT’s lubricants are now being tested and certified by many of the world’s largest lubricant manufacturers who want to use these as components in their existing or new motor oil and industrial lubricant product lines.

Within its venture capital activities Evonik plans to invest a total of €100 million in highly promising startups with break-through technologies and leading specialist venture capital funds. These investments will focus on Europe, the U.S. and Asia. Partnering with innovative start-up companies supplements Evonik’s approach of open innovation and creates excellent opportunities for accelerating the development of new businesses and opening up future growth fields.

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