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Engineering Algae-based Bio Fuel: Valcent CEO Glen Kertz (Part 6)

Posted on Tuesday, Nov 25th 2008

SM: It sounds like you are still in the early stages of your startup in terms of the overall balance of technology. Could you address your reasoning for doing this in the public market?

GK: When I first had this idea the market was not what it is now. Back then I could not get the time of day from a lot of large funds and, I could not even get in the door of the building to talk to venture capital funds.

Now, three years later, things have changed. We have been out there and shown our technology a bit. We have made great strides, the marketplace has changed, oil has been up and down, and I think the value of what we are doing has solidified much more. It is now common to have large funds approach us. In fact, we have had quite a few large funds come and tell us that they wish we had not gone public so fast because they would have loved to have fund our initiative but they can’t do it in a public manner. I then get to remind them that three years ago they had the opportunity but I could not get in their door.

SM: You were willing to take whatever money you could to get started.

GK: The people who were willing to stand with me were used to using public vehicles. It made them and their investors comfortable. I certainly had no objections to that. The big funds would not give me the time of day, so I was able to deal with institutional investors who had investment vehicles in place via public markets. I do not feel that I have missed anything by not using venture funds.

SM: How are you going to handle raising another $20-$30 million to get to the first real pilot production capability? Will the public market be able to deal with that level of risk?

GK: I think it is pretty much done.

SM: You have already raised those funds?

GK: We have not put it in the bank yet, but we know where it is coming from. I am not at a position at this time to tell you exactly who the investors are. I can tell you that this investment is coming from large institutional investors who this time are stepping up to the plate.

SM: What exchange have you gone public in?

GK: We are on the Alberta Exchange but we are OTC. We are fully reporting to the SEC here and we trade OTC.

SM: Do the investors need to be Canadian investors?

GK: We can handle both Canadian and US investors. That is good flexibility for us and it has proven beneficial. We have a lot of funds that come out of New York and Toronto.

SM: Are these primarily hedge funds?

GK: We started out with a lot of hedge funds, but now it looks like our next set of investors are primarily institutional investors. That being said, they are not institutional venture investors.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Engineering Algae-based Bio Fuel: Valcent CEO Glen Kertz
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