Renewable chemicals company hires experienced CEO & begins toll manufacturing to meet customer demand

Pyran, Inc., a high-growth company that creates high-performing 5-carbon products made from renewable resources, today announced that it has closed its latest round of fundraising, bringing its total of investments and grants to nearly $4 million. The investment comes from lead investor, Arosa Capital, with support from the venture arm of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). Several new investors joined all previous investors in the oversubscribed fundraise, further demonstrating investor enthusiasm in the specialty chemicals company.

Pyran uses renewable feedstocks from crop resources, such as corn cobs, to make 1,5- pentanediol (PDO) – a key ingredient that enhances the performance of everyday materials, such as paints, coatings, adhesives and more. The company’s renewable 5- carbon products replace expensive, petroleum-based chemicals, which are limited in supply, at a cost of more than 40% below today’s market price.

Customers of PDO have been restricted from using the performance-enhancing product because petroleum-based capacity is constrained by co-product limitations. Pyran’s renewable-based, on-purpose production will enable customers to expand their businesses with better performing and more sustainable products.

“Pyran offers a product that is bio-based with a lower cost of production than the fossil fuel-based alternative without sacrificing performance,” said Till Bechtolsheimer, CEO of  Arosa. “This investment fits our strategy of focusing on companies that seek a  differentiated approach to solving current and future challenges in the energy and related  sectors.”

Mike Partsch, Chief Venture Officer with WARF Ventures, said: “WARF Ventures is pleased to support Pyran. WARF has long supported this technology through our WARF Accelerator. The combination of a high-performing product and talented leadership makes  the investment in this university-developed technology promising.”

With the latest round of fundraising, Pyran is taking several important steps as it pursues full commercialization: hired an experienced CEO; scaling capacity; and applying for additional matching grants that will expand the company’s product and technology portfolio.

Pyran Hires Experienced CEO

Pyran has hired Dr. Mel Luetkens, an experienced CEO with more than 35 years in the chemical industry. In this new role with Pyran, Luetkens will help the company focus on accelerating commercialization activities and revenue growth. Previously, he was technology director for INEOS and most recently served as COO, CTO and CEO of multiple bio-material companies where he has helped lead company growth, new facility construction and more than $300 million in equity financing.

“We are pleased with the customer interest that Pyran has received to date, and we’re looking forward to meeting the demand with products that are environmentally friendly and cost-efficient,” Luetkens said. “This latest round of fundraising allows us to do just  that as we remain focused on commercialization activities and revenue growth by offering a differentiated product that offers a strong business case for customers.”

Scaling Capacity

Pyran is actively moving to the next level of commercialization. Construction is slated for the end of July to enable a toll manufacturing campaign at RPD Technologies in Crosby,  Texas. Through the toll campaign, the company will be able to produce ton quantities of product in the next 12 months to meet qualification requirements and increased customer demand.

Applying for Matching Grants

Pyran’s technology has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. The latest round of fundraising makes it possible for  Pyran to apply for additional matching grants that further fund the company’s growth and scale. These grants can help fund even larger volumes of PDO for Pyran’s customers, setting the stage for commercial production of PDO in the upcoming years.