This month’s headlines in Chemical Venture News

Month of September 2016

There are so many journalists and bloggers that focus at technology and startups in the news. As a Chemical Engineer now working in tech, I wanted to focus on Chemical venture related news and new chemical technologies being commercialized, funding news, M&As, IPOs, and other headlines that caught my eye. Learning from claim sets to term sheets, we can see how the industry is shifting to new technologies or processes from corporate venture capital leading rounds to other small businesses trying to innovate and disrupt.


While there is a slowdown of major tech IPOs, the majority of the IPO news this week will mostly only highlight Nutanix’s (an enterprise datacenter platform) big IPO. One IPO that few heard about was Ashland’s Valvoline. Yep! THAT Valvoline. If you’re not familiar with the product, maybe this will jog your memory.

Valvoline is one of the largest producers of motor oil in the United States. Valvoline was founded by Dr. John Ellis who formulated a petroleum-based lubricant in 1866 and is currently based in Lexington, Kentucky, being the oldest motor oil marketer in US.

Ashland divested stake in Valvoline ($VVV) from the IPO, offering of 34,500,000 shares of common stock at the price of $22.00 on Friday, September 23rd.

Stock Price of VVV through September 30th

Through this spinoff, Valvoline can develop its high margin operations like heavy machinery lubricants away from Ashland. This might be something to watch to see how Valvoline does in the coming 2–3 quarters.

In other IPO news, SenesTech, a pest control firm, plans on raising $30 Million in an IPO based on SEC filings earlier this week. They plan to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol SNES (insert your Super Nintendo / Mario jokes here)

M&A News

Venture Capital Financings News

  • Poly6 Technologies is going through a new MIT Accelerator
  • LiQuifix raises a $1.5M Series A from Connecticut Innovations for their non-toxic, environmentally friendly mulit-purpose spray lubricant.
  • Stony Creek Colors raises a $2.18M from undisclosed investors for their sustainable natural indigo dye.
  • Terramera raises a big Series A round from a number of investors including Ikea GreenTech (IKEA Group venture capital company), Seed 2 Growth Ventures (S2G), ACA Investments, Bold Capital Partners, Renewal Funds, and Maumee Ventures for their high-performance plant-based solutions.
  • Crop Enhancement raises $8.5M Series B from 1955 Capital, Bandgap Ventures, Phoenix Venture Partners, Spruce Capital Partners and Xeraya Capital for their sustainable agrochemical formulations.
  • FRX Polymers raises $22.6M Series D round, closing their total funding at a little more than $95M, from Capricorn Venture Partners, CITIC Capital Private Equity, Evonik Venture Capital and others. This round will help their flame-retarded plastics for expansion into Asia, particularly into China.
  • Intrinsiq Materials closed a $3M round for their manufacturing electronic ink technology.

Private Equity News

  • Houston-based, SES Foam, a manufacturer and marketer of high-quality polyurethane spray foam insulation had an investment from Tenex Capital Management

Interesting Industry News, Trends, & Opinions (my own)

  • Unilever is in talks to by Jessica Alba’s Honest Company. Today, Honesty Co. announced they would remove controversial ingredient from its its laundry detergent and other cleaning products. Unilever buying up a Plant-based detergent and household cleaner company from Vermont will make this more interesting as the talks continue
  • If you’re in the downstream business, it is no new news that investments and spending has been down. Bloomberg highlights how they foresee spending to increase in the next 4 quarters.

Anything else catch your eye? Hit reply at the bottom of interesting news that you saw. If you have feedback, drop me a line on @NRaush! I would also love any feedback on this series and what direction you think I should go.

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