Meet The Renewable Energy Company Using Algae to Reinvent Crude Oil.
Plus, a bonus Pod with the cofounder of Morning Brew!
What. A. Week. The good thing is, if you’re reading this email, the weekend is near!
When we last connected, Bitcoin was on a tear. Then, “Bitcoin died”. And, now?? Apparently, it’s back (after a 10% swing) and going to hit $50k by next week or month or quarter or in 2022. Between my $BTN & $ETH positions, $TSLA 18x its estimated 2021 revenue and a gigantic whiff on OSU covering the spread against Bama… I’m basically emotionally out-to-lunch.
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For my newbs; every week I breakdown a startup pitch with the added hook that you don’t have to be a rich guy to invest (if you don't know what that means, click here).
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And, I/you/we/they miss it. So, this week on the Pod, I had Austin Rief, cofounder of Morning Brew (a top daily markets newsletter that was recently acquired by Business Insider at a valuation of $75m), to learn what separates a good-from-great newsletter.
Here’s my convo with Austin Rief 👉 https://spoti.fi/3nH0kT6
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Manta Biofuel takes its inspiration from agriculture to make a system that’s scalable, reliable, and cost-effective. Their approach scales production with independent farmers, democratizing clean energy production by farming algae, instead of manufacturing it.
Renewable crude oil is one of those rare disruptive ideas that, when you hear it, you think it has the potential to change the world. Which would probably explain why Manta Biofuel, as of this writing, has already raised 2,000% of its financing goal (and it still has 24 days left).
Meet the Founder
Watch my full interview with Manta Biofuel Founder and CEO Ryan Powell here.
Ryan Powell is Manta’s Founder & CEO. Prior to this, Ryan was working in his family’s retail business where he learned the ins and outs of the retail industry. Long before starting Manta, he grew up in rural Ohio on a 2000 acre family farm. This experience provided first-hand knowledge of what can and cannot be done to economically manage large tracts of land and large volumes of commodity biomass. After leaving the farm Ryan completed his undergraduate degree and PhD focused on algal biofuels — providing the technical expertise to understand what has been tried in algal biofuels and why new approaches are needed.
Ok, this is where I preface by saying I know literally nothing about renewable energy, other than what any of us might read in Nat Geo. But, when I spoke with Ryan it was super clear right off the bat that he was sort of born to work on this problem — between the family farming experience and his education (even if it was The Ohio State) it appears that Ryan has a strong fundamental background in the necessary areas to lead this charge.
A cost-competitive, renewable replacement for fossil fuel, made from algae
$3M raised from U.S. Department of Energy, State of Maryland, etc.
$1M in LOIs and initial beta testing complete in a commercial system
For me, when it comes to these type of investment opportunities there’s a little bit (ok, a lot) of blindness. So, I look for a few things right off the bat. First, How does the government view your plans? i.e. SpaceX… U.S. Dept. of Energy and State and local are financially supporting the efforts ✅ Next, how do the incumbents view your activities? Typically in the energy space, there is a lot of competitive, anti-cooperation, but Manta’s peers seem excited about the potential economic benefits from a new and more sustainable way of sourcing algae ✅
And, lastly, what are you valuing this testing phase at? More on that below.
Manta Biofuel’s technology promises a sustainable alternative for powering air travel, long-distance shipping and other modes of transportation that are reliant on fossil fuels. The addressable market for this technology is huge — $2 trillion, according to Manta Biofuel itself — making it an intriguing proposition. And given the heightened political attention on global warming and the push for green energy, Manta seems well positioned for the near future. Already, Manta has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Manta has a few competitors in the market, such as Kior, a startup that has raised nearly $300 million for its technology converting biomass into renewable crude oil, and Ceres, a company that converted grass into biofuel and was acquired in 2016 by food brand Land O’Lakes.
Their success bodes well for Manta. As the need for renewable energy becomes more urgent in the years ahead, there are likely to be many successful startups in this space. And Manta has the technology and market validation to make them a viable contender.
Terms & Takeaway
Invest in Manta here 👉 https://bit.ly/2MXybKN
Security Type: Crowd Safe
Valuation Cap: $6,000,000
Investment Goal: $1,070,000
Raised (as of publishing): $528,630
Minimum Investment: $100
Here's what I like: This is potentially world changing stuff with plenty of verified research and study on Algae as a renewable energy source — it’s just not been the most economical option. Manta is trying to change that and if successful, it could be a MASSIVE win for the planet! That said, a lot has to happen, and it will take years and many millions of dollars to get there… But, here’s what I like; the price. With a $6m value cap, Manta is priced pretty appropriately for its stage. This is a gigantic project — we know algae works in this capacity, but we don’t know how it scales or if the energy overlords will buy what Manta’s selling!?!
Honestly speaking, we need companies like this if we’re going to ever get ahead of Mother Nature and I appreciate the opportunity to get into something this big at a relative pittance.
Here's what I don't love: This is pretty obvious. There are absolutely ZERO guarantees and it’s hard for me to invest in things I a) don’t understand and b) cannot help.
For that reason, this is the type of investment that I call, “blue sky”. You know, the type of deals that you back because it makes you feel good (with huge reward potential).
Who should invest and why: This deal is not overly expensive, $100 minimum and a $6m value cap, with more than $500k already committed so, if you’re into energy markets or big ideas with high-risk/high-reward action, this is for you. Also, there is certainly an element of mission-driven here… I would argue if you have the money to spare, investing in opportunities that can help save the planet will earn you some additional karma points (at minimum).
As always, startup investing is super high risk, anything can happen. So, don't invest money you can't afford to turn into algae... ♻️💸
Invest in Manta here 👉 https://bit.ly/2MXybKN
Questions? DM me on Twitter @kitun
Disclaimer: It goes without saying, but this information should not be constituted as financial advice, my investing opinions are my own and all diligence is the responsibility of each individual investor.