Catalytica Energy Systems

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"Catalytica Energy Systems, Inc. is one of the world leaders in developing and marketing technologies related to the catalytic combustion of fossil fuels... While Catalytica Energy Systems was founded in 1995 as Catalytica Combustion Systems, and not incorporated as a public company until 2000, its history may be traced to the formation of its former parent, Catalytica Inc. This company was founded in 1974 by Ricardo B. Levy and James A. Cusumano... In December 1974 they left Exxon, and with Michele Boudart, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford University, anted up $10,000 each and founded Catalytica Associates, Inc. Catalytica was a consulting company that served the petrochemical industry. It operated at first out of Levy's small basement but later moved to real offices in Silicon Valley...

"In the early 1980s a Catalytica board member introduced the partners to Tommy Davis, a legendary Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist who founded the Palo Alto-based Mayfield Fund. Davis made a series of investments in Catalytica, about $3 million in 1983 and another $2 million the following year. In October 1984 he helped broker a limited partnership, with Lubrizol Corporation's Catven unit that brought another $20 million to Catalytica. Those investments were meant to finance Catalytica for approximately five years while the company worked on developing marketable technologies.

"By 1985, the company was known as Catalytica Inc. and employed 50 people, about half of whom held Ph.D. degrees. In 1988 it stopped consulting altogether to focus entirely on research and development (R&D). It would be some time before Catalytica was able to develop a commercially viable product, but the petrochemical and energy industries expressed interest in its work from the start. In 1989, Catalytica signed an agreement with Koch Industries, a chemical and petroleum refining company. In exchange for a minority interest in Catalytica, Koch invested $10 million and agreed to sponsor specific research projects. Successful technologies would be brought to market jointly by the two partners. Koch's executive vice-president David Koch was given a seat on Catalytica's board of directors." [1]

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