Prometheus, $10M in Hand, Poised to Deliver Alternative Fuel for Shell Technology Ventures

7/3/09Follow @gthuang

Kirt Montague is the Comeback Kid of the Seattle cleantech community. We saw the fire in his eyes back in March when he rocked the room with a killer presentation on waste-to-energy at Xconomy’s cleantech forum in Seattle. And we see it again now that his company, Redmond, WA-based Prometheus Energy, which produces liquid natural gas from waste, has just closed $10 million in financing—with another $10 million to come upon reaching certain milestones—from Shell Technology Ventures Fund, which is managed by Netherlands-based Kenda Capital, a division of the Dutch oil giant.

Prometheus Energy, and Montague, have been through some rough patches. The company was founded in 2003 and raised more than $20 million in venture funding through the alternative fuels heyday of 2006. That year, Montague took Prometheus public on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM). The move didn’t work out, and the company was de-listed in 2008. Prometheus went through layoffs, personnel changes, and slumping revenues. Last September, the assets of the company were acquired by Black River Asset Management, a large private equity firm based in Minnetonka, MN, and San Mateo, CA.

“We’ve hung in there, we’ve weathered the storm,” says Montague (pronounced “Mon-tag”), Prometheus’s co-founder and CEO. “It hasn’t been easy. It’s been painful. But we’re still here, and we’re growing. Having Shell [Technology Ventures and Kenda Capital] close this deal validates a lot of what we’ve done.”

Indeed, it’s a big deal for Prometheus Energy, for Seattle cleantech, and for the future of alternative fuels. It also highlights some broader and more globally important business trends. One is that big oil companies are starting to invest heavily in alternative energy technologies, even in the midst of the recession. Another is that the capital for these deals in the U.S. increasingly is coming from overseas. “You’ve got a situation where the market for this technology is not just domestic, it’s global,” says Michael Butler, CEO of Seattle-based Cascadia Capital, the investment bank that brokered the Prometheus deal. “Kirt went to Shell [Technology Ventures] because of the value they bring.”

Gaining a strategic partner like Shell Technology Ventures appears to be quite … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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  • Joel Baughman

    Congratulations, Kirt! Glad to hear things are going well.