Aurora Biofuels Raises $15 Million

Aurora Biofuels Inc., an Alameda, Calif.-based biofuels company focused on open-pond algae aquaculture, has raised $15 million in third-round funding. Oak Investment Partners led the round, and was joined by fellow return backers Gabriel Venture Partners and Noventi. The company previously raised $25 million.


Aurora Biofuels, Inc. said it has secured an additional $15 million in a recent funding round led by Oak Investment Partners, with the continued support of Gabriel Venture Partners and Noventi Ventures.  This third round of financing brings the total amount of money raised by the company to more than $40 million.  The new funding will be used to support the continued path to commercialization for its advanced algae biofuel technology.  

In addition, the company has hired Scott McDonald, a veteran Silicon Valley executive, as its Chief Financial Officer.  Mr. McDonald brings to Aurora Biofuels a 25-year history in executive management and in planning and executing corporate strategy.  He has substantial experience in operations, administration and financial oversight, and has helped to build and scale many successful startup and high growth companies. 

“This additional investment will be critical as our company expands its field of operations and further optimizes its technology,” said Mr. McDonald. “I am excited to be joining a company with truly enormous potential and an ample reserve in the bank, and look forward to implementing Aurora Biofuels’ financial and operational strategies moving forward.”

Brian Hinman, Oak Venture Partner and Aurora Director, added that, “Aurora Biofuels has made a significant genetic engineering achievement in doubling the productivity of its proprietary algae, and this round of funding will allow the company to demonstrate the productivity and production processes at scale.”  Mr. Hinman added that “we are pleased to bring Scott McDonald to the company, as he has a wealth of experience in finance, operations and technology, which will be tremendously important as we build out the company’s capabilities on the demonstration scale.”

Mr. McDonald has lead private and public company financings, mergers and acquisitions, financial restructurings, and system implementations for Castelle (CSTL), where he was Chief Executive Officer; Conxion Corporation, where he was Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer; and at CIDCO Inc. (CDCO), where he was Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer.  He was also Chief Financial Officer and VP of Finance and Administration at Integrated Systems Inc. (INTS).  Mr. McDonald is a member of the Board of Directors for the Paramit Corporation and Momentum Data Systems, Inc., and has previously served on the corporate boards of Octant Technologies, Inc., Castelle, Digital Power Corporation (DPW), and CIDCO Inc.  Mr. McDonald holds a BS in Accounting from the University of Akron and an MBA from Golden Gate University.

About Aurora Biofuels:

Aurora Biofuels manufactures fuel from genetically optimized algae in a patented production process.   Leading technologists at Aurora Biofuels have engineered a cost-competitive and scalable method for fuel generation, using robust and highly-productive custom algae strains. The Aurora Biofuels process is carbon-neutral, non-competitive with agricultural resources, and capable of industrial yields with a minimal land use. Aurora Biofuels investors include: Oak Investment Partners, Noventi Ventures and Gabriel Venture Partners.

About Oak Investment Partners

Oak Investment Partners is a multi-stage venture capital firm with a total of $8.4 billion in committed capital. The primary investment focus is on high growth opportunities in communications, information technology, internet new media, financial services, clean energy, healthcare services, and consumer retail. Over a 31-year history, Oak has achieved a strong track record as a stage-independent investor funding more than 481 companies at key points in their lifecycle.

About Gabriel Venture Partners

Gabriel Venture Partners® is an early-stage venture capital firm committed to fostering innovation by actively assisting entrepreneurs in technology and technology-enabled businesses. Gabriel seeks investment opportunities in capital-efficient companies that have the potential to be market leaders. Gabriel is based in Silicon Valley and has over $260 million under management. Gabriel’s investment team consists of seasoned technology entrepreneurs and industry executives, each with international operating experience and strong domain expertise. Representative investments include Placeware (acquired by Microsoft), NetScaler (acquired by Citrix), Iridigm (acquired by Qualcomm), LVL7 (acquired by Broadcom), NeoPath (acquired by Cisco) and IPWireless (acquired by Nextwave Wireless).

About Noventi Ventures

Noventi Ventures is Silicon Valley-based, early stage venture capital firm focused on building successful companies through the partnerships with entrepreneurs. Noventi leverages decades of operating experience, a global network of resources, and a proven record in venture investing to focus on opportunities at the convergence of technology, energy, and the environment. Noventi past investments include Bitfone (acquired by HP), EasyMarket (acquired by TUI), Sygate (acquired by Symantec) and M7 (acquired by BEA). For more information visit