In the 1980’s, Jonathan Wolfson had a vision: he wanted to change the way the world produces and uses energy. He believed there was a more sustainable way to keep the world moving and in 2003, co-founded a company called Solazyme with a breakthrough discovery.
Microalgae. The same single-cell organism responsible for turning fossils into oil over millions of years could also efficiently turn carbohydrate-based plant sugars into oil in a matter of days. By using microalgae and biotechnology, Solazyme found a way to produce tailored oils at large scale in a renewable and sustainable way, for a variety of uses in fuels, foods, personal care products and other applications.
Solazyme’s challenge was finding the capital to continue their research and growth. Over the last several years, they have worked with the Goldman Sachs Clean Technology and Renewables Group to raise capital, think through strategic objectives, and meet many milestones in a highly competitive market.
In 2011, Goldman Sachs helped Solazyme take their story to the markets through an initial public offering (IPO) that raised $227 million. In January 2013, Goldman Sachs helped raise an additional $125 million, followed by another $213 million in March 2014, as well as identifying strategies to reach future goals.
Both of these financings were instrumental in helping Solazyme continue to grow and scale up their manufacturing facilities, while also investing in new plants both in the U.S. (specifically Illinois and Iowa) as well as Brazil.
With nearly 300 employees at their headquarters in South San Francisco, Solazyme has over 300 patents filed to date and is looking forward to a future where renewable bioproducts can make an even greater impact.
Goldman Sachs’ Clean Technology and Renewables group services clients in the emerging clean technology market covering a wide range of subsectors – from biofuels to energy efficiency to solar to wind to smart grid to electric vehicles among others.