MDV Backs Coal Gasification Startup

Laurus Energy, a Houston, Texas-based developer of underground coal gasification projects, has raised $9 million in VC funding from Mohr Davidow Ventures. The round closed back in April, but Larus held the announcement until naming a new CEO — veteran energy executive Rebecca McDonald.



MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures, a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm, today announced that it has backed Laurus Energy, the North American leader in Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) project development. Laurus also announced today that top energy executive Rebecca McDonald has joined as CEO.


“Given the huge demand for energy in the U.S. and abroad and world’s vast coal reserves, we’ve been searching for companies developing gasification as a cleaner alternative to conventional coal,” said Erik Straser, MDV General Partner who led the financing and holds a Laurus board seat. “Laurus’ proprietary approach has proven that when UCG is combined with carbon capture and sequestration, it can deliver the cleanest, lowest-cost power. It has the added significant benefit of being cleaner than today’s benchmark, natural gas.”


Laurus Energy applies a proprietary gasification process to un-minable coal seams. This in turn enables coal to be converted, in situ, into syngas. The company’s unique process can produce commercial quantities of gas for both power generation and chemical processes. Laurus’ initial market is providing syngas for power plants. The company leverages an exclusive relationship in North America with the only successful global developer of UCG projects, Ergo Exergy. 


Laurus Energy was founded by Simon Maev and Michael Blinderman, each of whom bring 30 years experience in commercial UCG application. Blinderman also founded and leads Ergo Exergy.  


New Laurus CEO Rebecca McDonald brings more than 25 years experience in the energy industry. She has been responsible for the development, construction and operation of natural gas and liquids pipelines, gas and electricity distribution companies, as well as power plant and gas processing facilities in North America, Asia, Africa and South America.


About Laurus Energy

Laurus Energy is the North American leader in Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) project development. The company’s proprietary UCG process coverts un-mineable coal reserves to syngas, providing cleaner, lower-cost energy to power plants as well as meeting other natural gas needs.  A  privately-held company,  Laurus Energy  is backed  by  top  Silicon  Valley  venture  capital  firm MDV- Mohr  Davidow Ventures. The company is headquartered in Houston and also has operations in Alberta, Canada.


About MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures

MDV is a leading Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that partners with exceptional entrepreneurs building breakthrough companies creating new markets or disrupting incumbents, principally through technology innovation. The firm invests in the areas of Cleantech, Information Technology, and Human Health. Since its inception in 1983 the firm has taken a hands-on approach to investments and working closely with entrepreneurs to reduce time to market and build successful companies. Cleantech companies funded by MDV include: Catilin; Genomatica; Gordon Murray Design; Hycrete; Laurus Energy; Nanosolar; OPX Biotechnologies; Simbol Mining; and ZeaChem. MDV has $2 billion under management. For more information, visit