Boulder energy startup DMC Biotechnologies among investments from Bill Gates-backed venture firm

BOULDER — DMC Biotechnologies, a Boulder-based technology firm, is one of several startups receiving investment from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the investment fund backed by Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Michael Bloomberg and other titans of industry.

The $1 billion investment fund has selected seven startups to receive backing, reports several publications including Quartz and Green Tech Media.

The fund backs startups making strides in energy development and technology. DMC Biotechnologies has a “dynamic metabolic control” technology it uses to manage the process of growing and testing different microbes it can use to generate biofuels and other products. The company is essentially using biology to produce chemistry, DMC CEO Matt Lipscomb told BizWest. He said it is most similar to how brewers use life science to create beer through fermentation. Fermentation science can also be used in other applications, such as in the energy space.

Earlier this year, the company raised $1.75 million from Capricorn Venture Partners.

Breakthrough Energy Ventures has not disclosed the amount it is investing in each startup, but it has invested about $100 million of its $1 billion fund. Typical investments range between less than $1 million to $20 million. BEV is focused on a “patient capital” model, which means it makes investments over a 20-year period, rather than seeking a return after about five years, like traditional venture firms. The fund also tends to make larger investments and plans to partner closely with university labs.

In addition to DMC, BEV also invested in several other energy-related startups: Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Zero Mass Water, Pivot Bio, CarbonCure, QuantumScape and Fervo Energy. Earlier this summer, the firm invested in Form Energy and Quidnet Energy.

Lipscomb told BizWest that Breakthrough Energy Ventures would be joining the company’s lead investor, Capricorn Venture Partners, which led the seed round.

“There were too many opportunities we wanted to take advantage of,” Lipscomb said. “This enables us to do this and having investors like we do has been very helpful for us.”

With Capricorn being a Belgium-based company, DMC now has more access to opportunities in Europe. And getting a fund with big-name backers like Breakthrough to endorse DMC means significant validation for the startup.

“These big names, they carry a certain amount of weight,”

He added that Breakthrough’s timeline is another important factor for DMC.

“You can’t tackle something like this on a 3-year horizon, you need a 20-30 year horizon. With the problems in life sciences and the opportunity we have of using biology to do chemistry, there are all sorts of things we could do but we need the right partner and right timeline to do that. They are knowledgeable of the problems and have the patience to see it through. It’s all you could hope for.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated from its original version.