Nebraska startup announces $5 million pre-seed funding round

Bluestem Biosciences, a renewable chemicals company maximizing agriculture and energy infrastructure through synthetic biology, announced today a pre-seed financing round of $5 million. Zero Infinity Partners led the round, including participation from Matt Vining, CEO of Navigator CO2 Ventures; Invest Nebraska; angel investor Robert Sali and Bluestem Co-Founder & CEO Billy Hagstrom.  Founded in January…

Image courtesy Bluestem Biosciences
Image courtesy Bluestem Biosciences

Bluestem Biosciences, a renewable chemicals company maximizing agriculture and energy infrastructure through synthetic biology, announced today a pre-seed financing round of $5 million. Zero Infinity Partners led the round, including participation from Matt Vining, CEO of Navigator CO2 Ventures; Invest Nebraska; angel investor Robert Sali and Bluestem Co-Founder & CEO Billy Hagstrom. 

Founded in January 2022, Bluestem focuses on the sustainable bio-production of chemicals through anaerobic fermentation. The company aims to produce these chemicals on an industrial scale. Their mission to diversify and decarbonize the chemical industry begins with purpose-built biology for existing infrastructure, according to today’s press release. 

“Bluestem’s approach on decarbonizing the petrochemical industry represents a large opportunity for Bluestem and our strategic partners,” said Billy Hagstrom. “Through our recent patent application and accomplishments year-to-date, Bluestem and our growing team are well-positioned to transform infrastructure, beginning in the Midwest.” 

The pre-seed funding will be used to build a leading team and product discovery pipeline powered by Bluestem’s proprietary digital biology architecture. This internally developed technology will allow Bluestem to accelerate discovery through an integration of existing and custom tools, focused on anaerobic bioproduction. 

“Digital biology is a game-changer and foundational to Bluestem’s differentiated approach,” said Tyler Autera, co-founder and chief technology officer. “By leveraging these tools, Bluestem is augmenting discovery to accelerate science and our path to commercialization.” 

Bluestem has announced its Strategic Advisory Board. 

  • Jed Dean, PhD – Former Co-Founder of Zymergen 
  • Alex Greenbaum – Partner of EQT Group (Infrastructure) 
  • Kristy Hawkins, PhD – Co-Founder & CSO, Antheia
  • John Kwaak – Founder & Managing Partner, Zero Infinity Partners 
  • Ton Van Maris, PhD – Professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology Matt Vining – CEO, Navigator CO2 Ventures 

John Kwaak, Founder & Managing Partner at Zero Infinity Partners, said, “Bluestem represents a tremendous opportunity to decarbonize the economy, transform infrastructure, and reimagine local agricultural economies to the advantage of all stakeholders. Our investment in Bluestem is very exciting for us and our investors, as we are all aligned on more sustainable infrastructure solutions.” 

“Carbon dioxide storage and utilization are mission critical for Navigator and the foundation of our Heartland Greenway project,” Vining said. “Bluestem’s technology and vision represent how biology can transform existing infrastructure for the benefit of decarbonization and help develop future markets for carbon. As a fellow Omaha-based company, we are proud to collaborate with Billy, Tyler and Bluestem’s team to accelerate decarbonization through anaerobic fermentation while exploring ways to commercialize CO2 consumption using Navigator’s platform.”

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