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Elevance Renewable Sciences

Elevance Renewable Sciences

Bolingbrook, Ill.
Founders: Collaboration between Cargill and Materia
VC investment over the last four quarters: $48.77 million

A company spun out of a partnership between Cargill and Materia in 2007, the 40-employee Elevance develops chemicals from natural oils for use in goods as diverse as candles, personal-care products, and motor oil. The company is betting on natural plant-based oils being more efficient and renewable than petroleum-based chemicals. The firm, formed with an undisclosed investment by Cargill and Materia, works in partnerships with other companies to commercialize its innovations. Elevance estimates it will bring in $20 million in revenues for 2008.

Key to startup success: "We believe that innovation is critical to a vibrant, healthy business, and work to create it in all aspects of our organizations and offerings. However, perpetual innovation can be challenging and too expensive to do it all yourself, so collaboration is equally important. These two attributes are tightly integrated into our brand and our business model and have helped us be successful."