Here’s the latest:
Khosla’s corn binge — Vinod Kholsa, the successful Silicon Valley venture capitalist who left Kleiner Perkins to start his own firm to invest in “green” technology, has done it again. He’s already made several investments (scroll down) in corn ethanol production, but he can’t stop. His latest investment is a company called Cilion — a team effort with a grain-million firm near Visalia, south of Fresno, in central California. It aims to build eight plants by 2008 capable of producing a total of 440 million gallons of ethanol a year. The SacBee has more (free registration).
Search engine Kosmix raises lots of cash — Remember the new Mountain View search company run by the guys who considered buying Google in the early days? They’ve raised $18.3 million in their latest round of funding (scroll down). Note that they raised $7.4 million last time. The total is $25.7 million, suspiciously close to the $25 million raised by Google back in the day. Backers are Accel Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Note that Kosmix has quietly launched separate searches beyond their original health focus. They now have 1) video game, 2) finance, 3) travel and 4) U.S. Politics.
Kleiner moves at light speed in India — Kleiner Perkins, one of the valley’s leading venture capital firms, has seemed flat-footed in its global plans, even as rival Sequoia has romped around the world with abandon. Now news comes that one of Kleiner’s first forays abroad, into the Indian market a few months ago with an investment into job site Naukri.com, may already be on the way to IPO. The company has filed to raise $29 million on the Bombay Stock Exchange, according to VentureWire (sub required).
San Francisco vs. San Jose — We define Silicon Valley as the swath of land surrounding the San Francisco Bay, running between SF on the north, and SJ on the south. The difference between the two cities can sometimes be quite stark, as recent news underscores. San Francisco is the domain of slick mayors like Gavin Newsom, who has just introduced plans for universal healthcare, and who pushes clean-tech policies. And SJ is the place of mayor Ron Gonzales, who resists cleantech policies until he is forced to change his mind, and somehow gets caught up in a garbage scandal, and gets indicted for it. We’re not endorsing any particular policies here, just remarking to outsiders that the valley is not a place of cultural uniformity (insiders already know this, and is why half the people we know spend their time commuting an hour from SF to their work in the valley; the other half, of course, couldn’t care less about SF).
–Google said yesterday it has sold its 2.6 percent stake in China’s Baidu.com, to focus on its own business in China.
—Digg.com, as expected, and now widely reported, will expand its news ranking service beyond technology, to cover areas including video, world, business and entertainment. To start Monday.
—Tzero, the ultrawide band chip company we mentioned recently was having a few problems with its web site, has got its site back up and running and raised at least $22 million, according to regulatory filings.
–Mountain View’s LignUp, an enterprise VoIP company, told us yesterday they had raised a $9.8 million Series B funding round, from Intel Capital, Regis McKenna and Tim Draper, among others.