Updated on 18 March 2013
Setting up the company
LanzaTech was founded in 2005 in a small laboratory in Auckland, New Zealand. "At that time, we had a test tube of data to demonstrate our technology and we were able to convince some very forward-looking people to invest in us," recalls Dr Simpson. In 2005-06, the company raised funds from New Zealand-based angel investors and K1W1, a local venture capital group. Highlighting the importance of funding, Dr Simpson says, "This process was crucial for the success of the company as we needed these funds to get our idea off the kitchen table and into the lab, giving us all the important data to secure further funding."
LanzaTech also secured over $9 million through New Zealand government grants to fund process development and scale-up in the early days. In 2007, the company attracted Series A investment from CleanTech investor Khosla Ventures. Series B financing in 2010 was led by Qiming Ventures in China. The Series C finding of 2012 was led by Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund that included new investors such as Petronas Technology Ventures, the venture arm of Petronas.
The success story
Since 2007, the company has gone from strength to strength with the transfer of the technology from the lab to the field to a 15,000 gallon per year pilot facility at the BlueScope Steel Mill in Auckland in 2008 and most recently in 2012 to two pre-commercial facilities in China.
Year 2012 was especially fruitful for the company in many ways. It completed the Series C financing round in January, raising $55.8 million in venture capital. In October of the same year, LanzaTech received funding from Western Technology Investment, bringing the company's total funding to over $100 million till date. In the same year, LanzaTech also opened its office in India and procured a biomass facility in the US.
Talking about the company's strategy to grow, Dr Simpson says, "Our strategy has been to identify sector leaders across a variety of industries that has led us to develop our global reach. We see LanzaTech as being a global company. We already have offices in the US, China, India and Europe. Our partnerships in terms of investment, funding, research and commercial production also span the globe."