posted on Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mark your calendars now! Opportunities in the Biofuels Industry -- October 17 -- MIT Enterprise Forum Dinner Program

This Dinner Program Is Exclusively Sponsored by


Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati


Surfing the Perfect Storm

Opportunities and Challenges in the Emerging Biofuels Industry



Join the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Northwest as we take an inside look at the emerging biofuels industry.

The perfect storm in the trillion $ petrofuels energy world--with issues of energy security, peak oil and global warming all converging--has created remarkable opportunities for the emergence of a major new industry: biofuels.

Tremendous amounts of capital have already been invested in the biofuel industry in the last 18 months, in spite of uncertain economics and rapidly evolving regulation.  Much of the activity is occurring in Seattle. 

On Wednesday October 17, 2007, join Seattle-based moderator Ross Reynolds of KUOW to learn more about what is enticing local entrepreneurs into a sector that includes bio-feedstocks, processing plant technology, new distribution chains and more.

Panelists for the program will include:


§          Rob Elam, CEO of Propel Biofuels

§          Tomas Endicott, Chairman of Sequential Biofuels

§          Nancy Floyd, Founder, Nth Power Venture Capital

§          Dan Parker, CEO of Parker Messana

§          Michael Weaver, CEO of Bionavitas

Topics to be explored by Ross Reynolds and the panel include:


§          The current development status of the biofuels industry (an overview of terms and topics will be provided for those new to this industry)

§          Why companies around the world are investing in a space that is yet to be proved profitable, and what they see down the ‘2nd  Generation’ road

§          Which companies and which strategies are likely to prosper

§          Why local entrepreneurs and professionals from other industries are jumping into biofuels

§          What will happen to our baby biofuels companies if the petrofuels ‘elephant’ rolls over on them

Mark your calendars for this provocative dinner event.     



Rob Elam, President, Propel Biofuels
Rob co-founded Propel Biofuels in 2004. Based in Seattle, Propel Biofuels builds, owns and operates a growing network renewable fueling locations. Propel closed Series A funding in August of 2007, led by @Ventures and Nth Power.
Propel Biofuels connects Rob’s professional and personal passions: Since his grandfather hooked him on fly fishing the rivers of the Sierra Nevada, Rob has been a passionate advocate for sustainability, high quality of life, and healthy communities.  Rob’s professional past is rooted in the intersection of technology and communications; he held senior roles with Imation (a 3M Company) and Fluent Communications before founding FORM Communications in 1999. FORM clients included leading global brands Nike, Red Bull, Nintendo, and K2 Sports.  Born in Davis, California and raised in Minnesota, Rob likes to think combines the pragmatic fortitude of the Midwest with the innovative spirit of the West Coast. Rob has worked with Outward Bound USA, and as an instructor for the Wilderness Education Association/University of Alaska, and as an adjunct professor for the State University of New York (SUNY). Rob holds a BA in Anthropology from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN


Michael Weaver, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Bionavitas, Inc.


Bionavitas is a Washington state company that has developed a proprietary technology for the high-volume production of micro-algae.


Prior to Bionavitas, in 1998, Mr. Weaver co-founded Applied Discovery, Inc. (ADI) a Washington based company that invented on-line legal electronic discovery, and was Chairman and CEO.  Mr. Weaver designed and patented Applied Discovery’s system to process, index, and provide on-line tools for searching and managing email, files, and other electronic corporate data at the rate of three million pages a day, changing the face of modern day legal discovery. ADI’s services were key to the discovery of some of the most notorious emails and files in the Enron, Worldcom, and Global Crossing litigations as well as the investment bank investigations and other high profile corporate cases. In 2003, Mr. Weaver was winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and negotiated the sale of Applied Discovery to Lexis/Nexis. Upon moving to the Seattle area from New York City, Mr. Weaver managed the Seattle Management Consulting practice of Coopers & Lybrand.  He then consulted with Microsoft and founded a series of successful companies providing software distribution and license tracking services for software manufacturers. Prior to Coopers, Mr. Weaver served in the United States Air Force developing distributed databases for military training curricula.  Mr. Weaver holds a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering and MBAs in Finance and Operations Management, is a member of the Northwest Energy Angels, and serves on numerous corporate boards.


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