Seed breeding co Kaiima raises $18m

The company's technology multiplies a plant's genome without damaging its DNA to boost productivity.

Seed breeding start-up Kaiima Ltd. has raised $18 million at a company value of $40-45 million, after money, from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and current investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and DFJ Tamir Fishman Ventures Ltd. (TASE: TFVC).

Kaiima CEO Dr. Doron Gal founded the company as Biofuel International in 2006. The company has developed a technique it calls Clean Genome Multiplication (CGM) technology to greatly increase crop productivity. The company claims its technology can boost productivity as much as two-fold by multiplying a plant's genome, without damaging its DNA.

Kaiima says that its CGM technology has been successfully demonstrated in more than 30 different plant varieties, and that it is running projects to multiply castor, jatropha, rapeseed, rice, and wheat.

The Kfar Tavor-based company operates worldwide, with a focus on China, which is seeking to boost domestic food production.

DFJ Tamir Fishman CEO Eldad Tamir said, "The interesting thing about Kaiima is that its technology simply works."

Kaiima plans to shortly try to enter a number of markets and to develop its technology, which requires large areas of land and long-development time, and therefore a lot of money. The company has raised $26 million to date.

Kaiima started out in the biodiesel sector, but discovered that its technology has broader applications. The company has said in the past that it plans to set up a joint venture with the Chinese government to market its solutions there and in other countries.

Kaiima has 30 employees.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 5, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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